Consumer Reports included for the first time in its national hospital quality ratings a ranking of how well 3,000 hospitals are controlling common deadly infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile.
The How Your Hospital Can Make You Sick report is based on information provided to the CDC between October 2013 and September 2014. The CDC found that 105 hospitals distinguished themselves by earning high ratings against both infections. Nine hospitals received top ratings for having no infections from MRSA, C. diff, or other measured infections, although none of the country’s highest-profile hospitals are on that list. Only 6% of hospitals scored well against both infections in the new ratings. The CDC estimates that 648,000 people develop infections during their hospital stay, with 75,000 dying from them; many of the deaths can be traced back to widespread, inappropriate use of antibiotics.
“High rates for MRSA and C. diff can be a red flag that a hospital isn’t following the best practices in preventing infections and prescribing antibiotics,” notes Doris Peter, PhD, director of Consumer Reports’ Health Ratings Center, in a prepared statement. “The data show that it is possible to keep infection rates down and in some cases avoid them altogether.”
Among Consumer Reports’ recommendations for hospitals:
- Consistently follow established protocols for managing superbug infections;
- Accurately track how many infections patients get; and
- Promptly report outbreaks to patients and health authorities.
- Consumer Reports. America’s antibiotic crisis: how your hospital can make you sick. July 29, 2015. Accessed September 12, 2015.