KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Infections In Pennsylvania Hospitals Lower Than National Average, Errors Also Down In Minn.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The rates of two common hospital-acquired infections in Pennsylvania hospitals were lower than rates at hospitals elsewhere in the United States, according to the first report on infections issued Tuesday by the state Department of Health." But the state's 213 hospitals still reported 13,771 hospital-acquired infections between July and December 2008.

"Gov. Ed Rendell in July 2007 signed legislation requiring hospitals to report infections within 48 hours. Nearly 25 percent of the infections were urinary tract infections, followed by surgical site infections at 22 percent and intestinal infections at 18 percent" (Fabregas, 1/13).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: "In the second half of 2008, higher-than-expected rates of potentially deadly bloodstream infections were reported by 58 Pennsylvania hospitals, including nine in the Southeast, according to data released yesterday by the state Department of Health." The analysis of the incidence of these hospital-acquired infections "is the first to be produced under a new state law aimed at reducing them" (McCullough and Goldstein, 1/13). 

Meanwhile, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune reported on the incidence of errors within Minnesota hospitals. "Minnesota hospitals reported a significant drop in the number of fatal mistakes last year and a dramatic reduction in fall-related injuries, according to the sixth annual report on hospital errors by the Minnesota Department of Health."

The Star Tribune reports that "[i]n all, four people died as a result of 'adverse events' at Minnesota hospitals in the 12 months ending October 2009, compared to 18 the year before. That was the fewest deaths since the state began reporting the statistics in 2005." No hospitals reported a death from a fall, however, the first time that's been the case since data were collected on medical errors in that state. "The report, released Thursday, tracks 28 types of mistakes or accidents - known in the hospital industry as 'never events' because they're never supposed to happen - such as wrong-site surgeries, severe bedsores or dangerous medication errors" (Lerner, 1/14).

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