WNY hospital infection rates don’t drop much

the CDC logo - Centers for Disease ControlSurgical-site infection rates changed little at hospitals in Western New York from 2008 through 2011 and exceeded rates in other regions of upstate New York, a report by Univera Healthcare shows.

An estimated 99,000 deaths associated with infections occur in hospitals alone each year, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospitals, insurers and government policy-makers have in recent years pushed to reduce hospital-acquired infections, but Univera’s report is one of many indicators that the potentially fatal problem remains a difficult challenge.

The health insurer analyzed data on infections at surgical sites and central-line bloodstream infections that the state requires hospitals to track and that it releases to the public each year.

A “central line” refers to the thin tubes known as catheters that are placed into a patient’s vein to draw blood, give fluids or medications. A bloodstream infection can occur when bacteria travel down a central line and enter the blood.

Western New York’s infection rates were among the highest in 2011 compared with other regions in upstate New York – 2.34 surgical-site infections per 100 procedures and 1.52 central line-associated infections per 1,000 days the lines were in place in patients.

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