Merced Sun-Star (Saturday) - - Community - Bar­bara An­der­son: 559-441-6310, @bee­health­writer

about one in 25 hos­pi­tal pa­tients has at least one health care as­so­ci­ated in­fec­tion, ac­cord­ing to the fed­eral Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion.

For the first time this year, Cal­i­for­nia re­ported the progress that each hos­pi­tal is mak­ing in reach­ing 2020 goals. The state said 40 hos­pi­tals, or 12 per­cent of 335 hos­pi­tals in the state, are on track to reach 2020 goals for all health care ac­quired in­fec­tions.

But ar­eas of con­cern re­main: Of 39 hos­pi­tals tar­geted for help by the state to re­duce C. Dif­fi­cile in­fec­tions, seven were worse; five hos­pi­tals were worse for three in­fec­tions; 10 hos­pi­tals were worse for two in­fec­tions. And of 12 tar­geted for help to re­duce cen­tral line blood­stream as­so­ci­ated in­fec­tions, Com­mu­nity and Olympia Med­i­cal Cen­ter had worse re­sults in 2017.

Com­mu­nity had 69 cen­tral line in­fec­tions in 2017, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

“Like many hos­pi­tals we are on a never end­ing jour­ney to im­prove qual­ity,” said Dr. Thomas Utecht, se­nior vice pres­i­dent and chief med­i­cal and qual­ity of­fi­cer.

Utecht said a doc­tor-led team re­views ev­ery po­ten­tial hos­pi­tal ac­quired in­fec­tion for op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove, in­clud­ing pa­tients be­ing seen by a vas­cu­lar spe­cial­ist and in­fec­tion pre­ven­tion­ist nurses. “A re­view of our more re­cent data demon­strates im­proved per­for­mance, with a rate of 0.38 in Septem­ber 2018 (na­tional base­line is 1.0).” Utecht said.

Com­mu­nity also is get­ting help from The Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health. A li­ai­son in­fec­tion pre­ven­tion­ist with the Health­care-As­so­ci­ated In­fec­tions Pro­gram is pro­vid­ing con­sul­ta­tion, and has made 21 rec­om­men­da­tions for im­prove­ments that the hos­pi­tal has im­ple­mented, said Mark Smith, a spokesman for the depart­ment.

Based on ob­ser­va­tions and a re­view of pre­lim­i­nary data, Com­mu­nity has made progress in re­duc­ing cen­tral line blood­stream in­fec­tions, Smith said.

Other hos­pi­tals in the cen­tral San Joaquin Val­ley also are work­ing to im­prove. Kaweah Delta Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Visalia had worse than na­tional base­line rates for MRSA in­fec­tions in 2017. But this year, it has had zero cases, said Sandy Volchko, di­rec­tor of qual­ity and pa­tient safety. “We had to cir­cle back. We had to re­visit our best prac­tices,” she said.

Other hos­pi­tals had some­thing to cheer from the re­port. Val­ley Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal in Madera scored bet­ter than base­line lev­els for cen­tral line blood­stream as­so­ci­ated in­fec­tions. A full list of hos­pi­tals and their in­fec­tion scores are avail­able on the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health web site.

At Mercy Med­i­cal Cen­ter, ed­u­cat­ing staff and pa­tients about in­fec­tion pre­ven­tion paid off in the hos­pi­tal reach­ing 2020 in­fec­tion re­duc­tion goals. Ban­ners on each floor re­mind staff and vis­i­tors of iso­la­tion rules, such as putting on gowns and gloves and hand wash­ing. And in­fec­tion con­trol signs are in all pa­tient rooms, said Vanessa Collins, in­fec­tion pre­ven­tion­ist.

Doc­tors and nurses fol­low a set of in­struc­tions for in­sert­ing tubes in veins, said Dr. Jorg Schuller, Mercy vice pres­i­dent of med­i­cal af­fairs. In­fec­tion pre­ven­tion is a pri­or­ity, Schuller said.

At the pub­lic re­lease of the in­fec­tion re­port Thurs­day, Schuller and Collins said “we all cel­e­brated dur­ing our qual­ity meet­ing this morn­ing.”

Andy was born Septem­ber 30,1950 the first child of Johnny Miller and Aleta-McGloth­inMiller-Check. He at­tended Franklin Elem­tary School and at age 13 the fam­ily moved to At­wa­ter where he at­tended area schools. He leaves be­hind his broth­ers Gary Miller of At­wa­ter, Gene Miller of San An­dreas, Don­ald Check and Eric Check of Merced, Randy Miller of An­gels Camp, CA. Sis­ters Janet MillerCook of At­wa­ter, Lisa-Check­Her­ring­ton of Merced and Rita Miller-Linker of An­gles Camp, CA. Many cousins, nieces and neph­ews will miss him.

A cel­e­bra­tion of re­mem­brance for Andy will be an­nounced at a later date.


AN­DREW KUHN akuhn@mer­ced­sun­

Mercy Med­i­cal Cen­ter is lo­cated at 333 Mercy Av­enue in Merced

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