FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Joe Martin, Communications Director
Harrisburg, PA - January 22, 2009 - Infections contracted by patients in Pennsylvania hospitals dropped nearly 8% from 2006 to 2007, according to new figures released today by Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4). PHC4’s latest study reports that 27,949 patients contracted an infection during their hospitalization in Calendar Year 2007, down from 30,237 patients in 2006. This represents a drop in the infection rate of 7.8%, from 19.2 infections per 1,000 cases in 2006, down to 17.7 per 1,000 cases in 2007. The 2007 numbers are the most recent data available.
"The decline in the infection rate from 2006 to 2007 reaffirms that Pennsylvania continues to make progress, and in fact, leads the way on this important public health issue," said David R. Kreider, PHC4's Chairman. "Pennsylvania hospitals and medical providers should be commended for their commitment to the public reporting process and for their ongoing clinical efforts to prevent these infections."
Hospital-acquired Infections in Pennsylvania, PHC4’s third hospital-specific report on hospital-acquired infections, includes information on approximately 1.6 million patients treated in 165 general acute care hospitals. This latest report marks the first time it was possible for PHC4 to include comparative data on annual infection rates because hospitals confirmed and reported the same infection types in both 2006 and 2007.
Because not all hospitals treat the same types of patients, facilities were categorized by "peer groups" so that hospitals that offer similar types and complexity of services and treat a similar number of patients are displayed together. In addition to the number of cases and infection rate per 1,000 cases, information on mortality, mean and median length of stay, and mean and median charges are presented for each hospital.
In July of 2007, Governor Rendell and the Pennsylvania General Assembly enacted Act 52 to adopt a comprehensive approach to the problem of hospital-acquired infections. The legislation has outlined a multi-pronged initiative to prevent, track and reduce such infections, with the potential to save thousands of lives, avoid countless complications and significantly restrain health care costs.
PHC4 is an independent state agency charged with collecting, analyzing and reporting cost and quality health care information. Copies of the new report are free and available on the Council's website at http://www.phc4.org. Hospital comments about the report also can be viewed online at http://www.phc4.org.