Every year, an estimated 648,000 people in the U.S. develop infections during a hospital stay, and about 75,000 die with one of those infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s more than twice the number of people who die each year in car crashes.

To highlight the growing problem of dangerous hospital infections, Consumer Reports recently rated hospitals based on their infection rates for two of the most common and deadly bacterial infections in hospitals, MRSA and C. diff. And we identified the 12 hospitals in the country that earned low scores not only against those hospital infections but also three other infections in our Ratings. Those include infections following surgery as well as infections associated with urinary catheters and central-line catheters (large tubes that provide medicine and nutrition to patients).

Those 12 low-scoring hospitals performed poorly across all five types of hospital infections, based on data they provided to federal government agencies, between October 2013 and September 2014. "Getting a low score across all five infection categories is a red flag that the hospital is not focusing proper resources on infection control," says Doris Peter, Ph.D. director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. 

Low-Scoring Hospitals for Infection Prevention

Here are the 12 low-scoring hospitals, listed alphabetically:

Note that the data our hospital Ratings are based on are released ​periodically throughout the year by the CDC. The CDC adjusts that data to account for factors such as the health of a hospital’s patients, its size, and whether it’s a teaching hospital. See our complete and the most current hospital Ratings as well as more about how we rate hospitals

We’ve asked these hospitals what they are doing to improve, and  why their infection rates were higher than average during the reporting time period of October 2013 to September 2014. We have now heard from all 12 hospitals.  

How Hospitals Can Improve

Our report, "How Your Hospital Can Make You Sick," revealed how hospitals and doctors contribute to hospital-acquired infections and antibiotic resistance and what hospitals and patients can do to protect against the problems.

Specifically, hospitals must do these things to prevent infections:

  • Follow infection control protocol, such as using protections including gowns, masks, and gloves by all staff.
  • Reduce overuse of antibiotics.
  • Have an antibiotic stewardship program. That should include mandatory reporting of antibiotic use to the CDC.
  • Accurately report how many infections patients get in the hospital.
  • Promptly report outbreaks to patients, as well as to state and federal health authorities.  

Join our efforts to stop hospital infections and support our work in stopping the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.