Jul 30, 2015

Consumer Reports Investigation Reveals Florida Hospitals Excel, Struggle at Preventing Acquired Infections


By on 5:10 AM

Consumer Reports has announced it is factoring in two new acquired infections in its hospital ratings, and Florida residents will want to pay attention to what the data reveals.

The ratings of more than 3,000 U.S. hospitals now includes information on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections. To develop ratings for MRSA and C. diff, Consumer Reports indicated it analyzed infections data submitted by the hospitals to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The MRSA and C. diff Ratings are now part of Consumer Reports' ratings, which also include central-line associated blood stream infections, surgical-site infections and catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Consumer Reports indicated that these scores, along with the new data for MRSA and C. diff, make up a larger composite infection score for individual hospitals.

To earn Consumer Reports' very top rating in preventing MRSA or C. diff, a hospital had to report zero infections. Just 322 hospitals in the U.S. were able to achieve that level in the MRSA ratings, and 357 accomplished it for the C. diff ratings. Just 105 succeeded in earning high ratings against both infections.

Only nine hospitals received higher ratings in avoiding not only MRSA and C. diff infections but also for avoiding the other infections included in Consumer Reports' ratings. Florida was represented by Jupiter Medical Center.

Unfortunately, Florida was also identified as the home of three of the 12 hospitals that earned lower scores for avoiding all five infections: St. Petersburg General Hospital, UF Health Jacksonville and Venice Regional Bayfront Health.

In a statement provided by St. Petersburg General Hospital to the Tampa Bay Times, a hospital spokeswoman noted that St. Petersburg General had met the federal government's national benchmark for MRSA and C. diff infections as reported on the Medicare website. "This is in addition to being recognized as a top performer on key quality measures by the Joint Commission," the spokeswoman said.

When contacted by The Florida Times-Union to respond to the Consumer Reports ratings, UF Health Jacksonville officials referred the publication to a May 21 letter (pdf) sent by UF Health Jacksonville CEO Russell Armistead to Gov. Rick Scott that spoke to the reasons for an increase in hospital-acquired infections and efforts the hospital was taking to reduce them.

Meanwhile, Venice Regional Bayfront Health was in the spotlight not for the Consumer Reports ratings but news that its CEO was resigning, according to a Herald Tribune report. He resigns as the hospital is dealing with the results of a joint state and federal investigation into the hospital's clean-up after a large scale sewage leak in May. The investigation reportedly revealed that the hospital failed to properly clean up the sewage, putting patients at risk of infection, and failed to address a rat infestation. The hospital now faces the potential loss of its Medicare certification.

Read the full Consumer Reports article on its new ratings by clicking here and see Consumer Reports' most complete and current ratings for more than 3,000 U.S hospitals by clicking here.

If your hospital requires assistance with reducing healthcare-associated infections, contact Infection Control Consulting Services (ICCS). For more than 30 years, ICCS, based in Delray Beach, Fla., has provided infection prevention consulting services to healthcare organizations in Florida and throughout the country. Services include development of customized infection prevention and infection control programs; mentoring and onboarding of novice infection preventionists; assistance with complying with state, federal and accreditation regulations and standards; preparation of corrective plans of action related to survey deficiencies; and much more.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS), which is based in Delray Beach, Florida. Phenelle has more than 30 years experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes to implement and maintain an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission (TJC), Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies, respond to situations of noncompliance, and improve the processes for reducing risk.

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