C. diff rates in health care facilities improving, annual report shows

Shannon Barbare, Communications Specialist | 303-692-2036 | shannon.barbare@state.co.us
DENVER — The statewide Clostridium difficile rate in health care facilities has improved steadily over the past three years, the recently released Healthcare-Associated Infections in Colorado report shows.
The report, published yearly by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, shows infection rates in certain types of Colorado health care facilities compared to national standards for selected surgeries and medical procedures. 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.
One of the reported infections, Clostridium difficile, is an ongoing issue for health care facilities and in community settings. This infection can cause diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, sepsis and death. Colorado hospitals performed better than the national rate in 2017, the same in 2016, and worse in 2015.
“Our infection preventionists continue to work with our partners to help reduce these infections, which can be devastating and costly,” said Dr. Wendy Bamberg, Healthcare-Associated Infections Program manager at the department. “These reports can help health care facilities and the public understand infection rates in facilities.” Bamberg said reported infection rates can be influenced by many factors, such as the way data is gathered, patient health, and infection control practices.
Most Colorado health facilities had rates similar to national rates for most reportable health care-associated infections. Other highlights for 2017:
  • The statewide surgical site infection rates for coronary artery bypass surgeries and abdominal hysterectomies performed in hospitals for adult patients were better than the national rates; rates for all other surgical site infections were the same as the national rates.
  • The statewide central line-associated bloodstream infection rates in long-term acute care hospitals, hospital adult critical care units, and neonatal critical care units were better than the national rate.
  • For the last three years, Colorado local-access infection rates in dialysis facilities have been worse than the national rates, while the access-related bloodstream infection rates have been the same.
The annual reports are mandated by the Colorado General Assembly to encourage greater transparency between health care facilities and the public. For more information about health care-associated infections, visit our HAI web page.