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Central FL hospitals among worst in state for infections

Orlando Sentinel, June 6, 2011

Several Central Florida hospitals were among the worst in the state for life-threatening infections and conditions related to patient stays, according to recently released data from the federal government. Many had rates for falls, blood infections, even bedsores that were several times the national average. Orlando Health, for instance, had the highest rate of life-threatening blood infections in the state of Florida: four times the national average. Officials at Orlando Health contested the data and on May 27 sent their complaints to Medicare administrators. Because Orlando Health's five hospitals include the area's only Level One trauma center, hospital officials say their system receives more traumatic — and complicated — cases than other local hospitals. Those cases are more likely to require catheters and lengthy hospital stays, hospital officials said. In addition, Orlando Health officials complained that Medicare based its figures on billing codes, which staff can enter incorrectly — for example, mistaking inflammatory cellulitis for the more serious infectious cellulitis.