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HAI Rates on the Decline

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 26, 2010

On the good news side, the rate of infections among medical and surgical discharges appears to have peaked in 2004 and 2005, with 2.3 infections per 1,000 stays, and in 2007, appeared to be in decline. In 2007, the rate was down to 2.03, the same level as in 2000.

Rates during the eight-year period between 2000 and 2007 decreased for all four regions of the country, ranging from 4.7% in the South to 18% in the West. The Midwest had the lowest rate for all four years and had a reduction of 14.1%.

In 2007, .2% of all inpatient hospital stays resulted in an infection during their medical care, or 42,243 patients.  Patients over age 65 had the greatest number of infections, or 45% of the patients diagnosed with an HAI.

Of those patients with an HAI who were Medicare beneficiaries, 54.4% came in through the emergency department, 10.7% came from another hospital and 3% came from another health facility such as a long-term care residence.

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.

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