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Pennsylvania report shows statewide toll of hospital infections

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

New Pennsylvania Report Highlights Statewide Toll of Hospital-Acquired Infections

Harrisburg, PA – In a new report released today, the Pennsylvania Healthcare Cost Containment Council (PHC4) disclosed that 13,711 patients acquired infections at hospitals in the state during the first nine months of 2005. According to the agency, these infections were associated with 1,456 additional deaths and 227,000 more days spent in the hospital. A copy of the PHC4 report is available here: http://www.phc4.com/
Pennsylvania hospitals reported a total of 11,668 for all twelve months of 2004 in a previous PHC4 report. The agency attributed the increase in infections in its latest report to better hospital compliance with the reporting law and an expansion in data collection requirements. PHC4 estimated that third party payers, such as insurers, Medicare and Medicaid, paid $613.7 million to treat patients with hospital infections in 2004. Similar data is not yet available for the infections reported in 2005.
“For decades, hospitals have known how common patient infections can be, but they haven’t being doing enough to keep patients safe,” said Lisa McGiffert, Director of Consumers Union’s Stop Hospital Infection campaign. “This report will help put pressure on hospitals to do a better job following procedures proven to keep infection risks low. Ultimately, that will save lives and dollars as more infections are prevented.”
The PHC4 report was released on the same day as the House Oversight Subcommittee held a hearing on public reporting of hospital infections. See a copy of Consumers Union’s letter to the Congressional Subcommittee on the importance of a strong hospital infection reporting system here:
To listen to a webcast of the House Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee’s March 29, 2006 hearing on hospital infections, click here:
PHC4 intends to release infection data for each hospital in the state, but so far has not done so because of spotty compliance with the reporting law. Consumers Union has joined with PennPIRG to urge the agency to release hospital-specific reports and to use its enforcement powers to audit or fine hospitals that remain out of compliance.
Five other states have adopted laws requiring hospitals to disclose information about infections to the public: Florida, Illinois, Missouri, New York, and Virginia. Florida is the only other state that has begun issuing reports. For more information on the Florida report, see:
Lawmakers in a number of other states around the country are considering hospital infection reporting legislation. To learn more, see:
For more information about Consumers Union’s Stop Hospital Infection campaign, see: www.StopHospitalInfections.org
Lisa McGiffert: 512-477-4431, ext. 115
Michael McCauley: 415-431-6747, ext 126