Health Care-Associated Infection Rates Down at California Hospitals
California hospitals continue to show overall low rates of health care-associated infections, but cases of Clostridium difficile and some surgical infections are still on the rise, according to a report released Friday by the California Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
The report is based on information from 2013, the most recent year for which data were available. Ninety-nine percent of California hospitals contributed data for the report.
Details of Report
In 2013, a total of 18,780 incidences of HAIs were reported by more than 420 hospitals in the state.
The report found that rates of most HAIs dropped in recent years, including:
- Infections related to surgeries, which fell 44% since 2008; and
- Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, which fell 27% since 2011.
However, rates of C. diff at California hospitals increased to 10,553 cases in 2013 -- a 5% increase since 2011. C. diff accounted for more than half of all health care-associated infections reported in California hospitals that year.
In addition, the number of infections among patients undergoing appendectomies, hysterectomies and rectal procedures also increased (Abram, Los Angeles Daily News, 3/13).
The report found that 61 hospitals in the state demonstrated significant decreases in HAIs from 2012 to 2013. Meanwhile, 112 hospitals reported high prevalence of such infections.
In a release, DPH said, "Despite significant progress, HAI[s] continue to be a public health risk in health care settings" across the state.
The data on HAIs will be accessible for the first time on mobile devices through an interactive map. The data also will be added to DPH's Open Data Portal.
Meanwhile, in response to the findings, DPH is contacting hospitals that reported high rates of HAIs to:
- Ensure they are aware of the problem and working to resolve it; and
- Provide assistance in implementing prevention plans.
Flu Vaccinations Up Among Health Care Personnel
In related news, a separate report released by DPH on Friday found that 85% of California hospitals had employee influenza vaccination rates higher than 60% during the 2013-2014 flu season.
Hospital reporting compliance was 100% for the report (DPH release, 3/13).
California hospitals since 2008 have been required to provide no-cost flu vaccines to health care personnel, and employees are required to obtain the vaccine or sign a form declining it.
The report found that "most hospitals are using strategies recommended by CDC to promote influenza vaccination among [health care personnel]" (DPH flu vaccination report, 3/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.