Upstate New York hospitals better at reducing infection rate than downstaters
Saturday, March 30, 2013 - 5:54 pm

A recent report by Excellus found that upstate New York hospitals were more successful than state facilities as a whole in reducing the rate of hospital-acquired infections.

The report followed the collection of four years of patient infection data, according to Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

“Hospital-acquired infections are serious but avoidable public health problems that reduce a patient’s ability to heal, causing suffering, extended hospital stays, expensive treatments and even death,” said Arthur Vercillo, regional president at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

Surgical site infection rates in upstate New York hospitals decreased by almost 8 percent between 2008 and 2011, while surgical site infection rates among state hospitals decreased 3 percent. Surgical site infection rates dropped 13 percent in Utica, Rome and the North Country.

Between 2008 and 2011, central line-associated bloodstream infection rates in upstate New York decreased 46 percent, but only 42 percent in state hospitals as a whole. The largest decline was in Utica, Rome and the North Country at 79 percent. Utica, Rome and North Country also had the lowest central line-associated infection rate at .34 infections per 1,000 days.

In 2010, New York state reported about 108,000 hospital-acquired infections, including 24,000 in upstate New York. Those hospital-acquired infections led to nearly 5,000 New York state deaths, 1,100 of which were in upstate New York.

If upstate hospitals could lower the number of hospital-acquired infections by 20 to 40 percent, there would be 5,000 to 10,000 fewer infections and 200 to 400 fewer deaths, according to the Excellus report. It would also save upstate hospitals between $68 million and $137 million annually.

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