Merced hos­pi­tal hits goal of re­duced in­fec­tions

Merced Sun-Star (Saturday) - - Livingston Chronicle - BY BAR­BARA AN­DER­SON ban­der­son@fres­

Hos­pi­tals in the cen­tral San Joaquin Val­ley are among the best and the worst at re­duc­ing health care as­so­ci­ated in­fec­tions, ac­cord­ing to Cal­i­for­nia pub­lic health of­fi­cials.

Mercy Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Merced is among 16 hos­pi­tals in Cal­i­for­nia to have achieved 2020 goals for re­duc­ing all types of in­fec­tions, ac­cord­ing to the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health’s 2018 re­port.

But Com­mu­nity Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Fresno is among 12 hos­pi­tals that have been tar­geted for hav­ing mul­ti­ple years of high cen­tral line as­so­ci­ated blood­stream in­fec­tions, which re­sult when a tube is passed into a vein.

Of the 12 hos­pi­tals with high blood­stream in­fec­tion rates, 10 im­proved and now meet na­tional base­line stan­dards, but Com­mu­nity is one of two hos­pi­tals, along with Los An­ge­les Olympia Med­i­cal Cen­ter, to con­tinue to have a higher in­ci­dence of in­fec­tions than na­tional in­fec­tion base­lines in 2017.

By law, hos­pi­tals must re­port cases of five dif­fer­ent health case as­so­ci­ated in­fec­tions: Clostrid­ium dif­fi­cile, a com­mon cause of di­ar­rhea in hos­pi­tal set­tings, and two drug-re­sis­tant in­fec­tions — me­thi­cillin-re­sis­tant Sta­phy­lo­coc­cus au­reus (MRSA) and van­comycin-re­sis­tant En­te­ro­cocci. Hos­pi­tals also must re­port in­fec­tions that oc­cur at surgery sites and cen­tral line blood­stream as­so­ci­ated in­fec­tions.

Pub­lic health of­fi­cials said Cal­i­for­nia hos­pi­tals in 2017 made the most progress in re­duc­ing in­fec­tions since re­port­ing be­gan in 2009. In 2017, acute­care hos­pi­tals re­ported 2,602 fewer in­fec­tions than in 2016. And statewide, re­portable in­fec­tions are now lower or “bet­ter” than 2015 na­tional base­lines. The most progress in fight­ing in­fec­tions was seen in re­duc­ing C. dif­fi­cile in­fec­tions, which have de­creased since 26 per­cent since 2015, the state said.

Al­though progress has been made in re­duc­ing hos­pi­tal ac­quired in­fec­tions in Cal­i­for­nia and na­tion­wide, they re­main a prob­lem. On any day, 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

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