Coming clean on hospital infections

Last reviewed: March 2010

Here are the top and bottom performers in 10 states where hospitals are publicly reporting the numbers of central–line–related bloodstream infections in their intensive–care units. The number next to each state's name indicates how many hospitals we analyzed for that state. The infection rate shows how well each hospital performed compared with the national average for its mix of ICUs (cardiac, surgical, etc.). We included only hospitals that had more than 1,000 central–line days (total days that all patients spent on central lines during the reporting period). And no, that's not a misprint: The worst–performing hospitals in Rhode Island and Vermont have lower–than–-average infection rates—but not zero.

March 2010 hospital infections Ratings chart

March 2010 hospital infections Ratings chart

We obtained national averages from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The reports for each state are the most recent available; most are from 2008. We excluded from analysis infections in neonatal, burn, and trauma units, where reported. A detailed description of our methodology, "Behind the Data," is available at www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org/hospitalinfections.
Sources: Public state infection reports and the Leapfrog Group.