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Jan. 15: Nearly all Colorado health facilities meet national infection rate standards

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014
Jeanne-Marie Bakehouse
Communications and Media Liaison

Nearly all Colorado health facilities meet national infection rate standards

DENVER – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s seventh annual Health Care Associated Infections report shows how infection rates at individual facilities compare to national standards for selected surgeries and medical procedures. In 2013, 99 percent of infection reports in Colorado met or exceeded the national standard for infection rates, compared to 96 percent in 2011. Additionally, only 1 percent of facility reports scored “worse” than the national standard in 2013, down from 4 percent in 2011.
The report compares the incidence of health care-associated infections at Colorado facilities to the national mean and shows whether each facility was the “same,” “better” or “worse” than the national standard. The report provides a general measure of infection prevention and assists consumers with decisions about where to receive health care. Consumers should consider many sources of information when deciding where to receive health care. This report provides information about infection counts and rates, procedures and patient volume.
As part of comprehensive reform to address health care-associated infections, 35 states, including Colorado, have mandated public health care-associated infection reporting to create greater transparency between health care facilities and the public. Colorado’s legislatively mandated report contains data, self-reported by each facility, for the following:
  • surgical site infections in breast, cardiac, orthopedic and abdominal surgeries
  • central line-associated bloodstream infections in adult and neonatal critical care units, long-term acute care hospitals and rehabilitation hospitals and wards
  •  dialysis-related infections in outpatient dialysis treatment centers
Reporting volume has increased because additional surgical procedures (breast and colon surgeries) have been added to the reporting, and new types of facilities (such as rehab hospitals) now are required to report infections. The number of reporting facilities increased from 181 in 2011 to 210 in 2013. Additionally, the number of submitted reports increased from 548 in 2011 to 677 in 2013.
When reviewing facilities, it is important to consider that infection rates can be influenced by factors such as better surveillance and reporting or less healthy populations, rather than poor infection control practices. To assess the validity of reported data, the department’s Health and Safety Data Services Section has conducted validation studies on central line-associated bloodstream infections, hernia surgical site infections, hip and knee surgical site infections and dialysis infections. All four validation studies helped identify areas of misunderstanding about infection surveillance and reporting. Two more validation studies for central line infections and infections related to dialysis are scheduled for 2014.
For more information about this report or patient safety initiatives underway at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, contact the Health and Safety Data Services Section at 303-692-2930 or visit www.healthfacilities.info.