New York Hospitals Have Lower Rates of Surgical-Site Infections

Infection Rates Identified for First Time by Hospital and Region in 2nd Annual Hospital-Acquired Infections Report

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 30, 2009) – New York hospitals have lower rates of surgical-site infections than the rest of the nation but the same or higher rates of central line-associated bloodstream infections in intensive care units than those reported nationally, the New York State Health Department (DOH) announced today in its second annual Hospital-Acquired Infections, New York State 2008 Report.

"New York's world-class hospital-acquired infection reporting system is designed to track hospital-acquired infections consistently over time to help hospitals and providers improve care and to provide New Yorkers with information to make decisions about their health care," said Governor Paterson. "This reporting system is another example of the State's commitment not only to protect the health and well-being of all New Yorkers but to assist New York's medical facilities with prevention strategies so that they can deliver the best care possible."

For the first time, the report presents 2008 hospital-acquired infection (HAI) rates identified by hospital name and New York region for surgical site infections (colon, coronary artery bypass graft, and hip replacement) and central-line associated blood stream infections in adult, pediatric, and neonatal intensive care units (ICUs).

New York is the first state to utilize the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Healthcare Safety Network system for HAI reporting, using data collected in 2008 from 186 hospitals that performed the selected surgical procedures or provided intensive care. Data on hip replacement surgery was included for the first time.

"An important finding of this report is that we did not identify a single hospital with high hospital-acquired infection rates across the board," said State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. "The Department has begun to work with hospitals reporting the highest infection rates to identify opportunities for prevention."

Among the major findings of the report:

  • Colon surgical-site infection rates decreased significantly in 2008 and were lower than 2006-2007 national rates.
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) chest infection rates for 2008 declined from a year ago and were significantly lower when compared with 2006-2007 national rates. CABG donor vessel surgical-site infection rates were identical to 2007 State rates and 2006-2007 national rates.
  • Hip replacement surgical-site infection rate of 1.3 percent for 2008 was not statistically different than the national rate of 1.5 percent in 2006-2007.
  • Central line-associated bloodstream infection rates in ICUs for 2008 were the same or higher than 2006-2007 national rates.

The 2008 report also outlines HAI prevention projects funded by the Department to develop, implement, and evaluate strategies to reduce hospital-acquired infections.

New York's hospital-acquired reporting process began with a pilot year in 2007, with first-year findings released on June 30, 2008. During the pilot year, hospital identifiers and hospital-identifiable data were encrypted by the Department in all public reports, as required by Public Health Law 2189. The law does not require encryption for reports released after the pilot year.

Nationally, CDC estimates there were 1.7 million health care-associated infections resulting in 99,000 deaths in 2002. A recent CDC report estimated the annual costs of health care-associated infections to U.S. hospitals to be between $28 billion and $45 billion.

Arthur A. Levin, M.P.H., Director of the Center for Medical Consumers and a member of the State's HAI Technical Advisory Workgroup, said, "This is a good day for all New Yorkers. Public reporting is a cornerstone of efforts to improve the quality and safety of healthcare in our state. Now New Yorkers can see for themselves how well their local hospital is doing to protect them from facility acquired infections. And, because of the unique requirement for auditing that was built into New York's system, the public can have confidence that what they read in this report provides an accurate picture of the efforts made by hospitals across the state to make patients safer."

Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee and one of the authors of the law setting up the HAI Reporting System, said, "Making hospital-acquired infection data publicly available will help hospitals identify areas where they are not doing as well as they thought they were. This will help hospitals improve patient safety. New York has been working carefully to make sure its hospital infection report card system works fairly and accurately. I'm glad it is up and running."

Senator Tom Duane, Chair of the Senate Health Committee, said, "Reducing hospital-acquired infections is an important public health goal that improves patient care and reduces hospital costs. New York State's reporting system provides a cutting-edge tool for identifying best practices and improving performance across all of New York's hospitals."

Senator Kemp Hannon said, "New York has established for its residents a comprehensive and continuous program for reducing hospital-caused infections to a minimum, thus improving the level of health care. Using a risk-adjusted system ensures each hospital will be reporting accurately in light of the different challenges faced by each institution."

The full report, including hospital-specific results, is available at: