Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council Releases New Report on HAIs

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) has released its second hospital-specific report on hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Hospitals reported that 30,237 patients hospitalized during 2006 contracted an infection during their hospitalization, a rate of 19.2 per 1,000 cases.

This is higher than the 2005 rate of 12.2 per 1,000 cases (19,154 patients with hospital-acquired infections). The increase is due to an expansion in the HAI reporting categories and the significant strides made by hospitals in the identification and reporting of these infections. However, when comparing data from the two most similar data collection time periods, fourth quarters 2005 and 2006, the rate of infection dropped from 16.3 per 1,000 cases to 15.1 per 1,000 cases.

“Pennsylvania hospitals should be commended for their commitment to the reporting process and for their improved reporting,” said David Wilderman, acting executive director of PHC4. “The decline in the infection rate from fourth quarter 2005 to fourth quarter 2006 indicates that we are headed in the right direction.”

The report includes information on approximately 1.6 million patients treated in 165 general acute-care hospitals. Because not all hospitals treat the same types of patients, they were categorized by “peer groups” so that hospitals that offer similar types and complexity of services and treat a similar number of patients are displayed together. In addition to the number of cases and infection rate per 1,000 cases, information on mortality, mean and median length of stay, and mean and median charges are presented for each hospital.

“The report can help initiate discussions between patients and their doctors and nurses,” said David R. Kreider, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry's vice president of operations and PHC4's chairman. “The report can be used by hospital providers to determine what needs to be done to eliminate infections and improve healthcare quality.”

In July 2007 the Pennsylvania General Assembly enacted Act 52 to adopt a comprehensive approach to the problem of HAIs. The legislation has outlined a multi-pronged initiative to prevent, track and reduce such infections, with the potential to save thousands of lives, avoid countless complications and significantly restrain healthcare costs.

PHC4 is an independent state agency charged with collecting, analyzing and reporting cost and quality healthcare information.

Source: Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council