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From the Desk of Senator Kemp Hannon: August 7, 2009

Hannon Sponsors Vital Legislation Developed to Address NY Hospital-Acquired Infections

According to a recent report released by New York State Department of Health officials, New York hospitals have lower rates of surgical-site infections than the rest of the nation but the same or higher rates of central line-associated bloodstream infections in intensive care units than those reported nationally. This second annual Hospital-Acquired Infections Report was precipitated by legislation authored by Senator Kemp Hannon of Garden City, then chairman of the New York State Standing Committee on Health.


“New York’s hospital-acquired infection reporting system was designed with New Yorkers in mind—by tracking the rate of hospital-acquired infections, with the idea of reporting it, hospitals and providers can make improvements, provide more quality care, while also allowing the individual to make informed health care choices, important decisions for themselves and their families,” Senator Hannon said.

For the first time, the report presents 2008 hospital-acquired infection rates identified by hospital name and New York region for surgical site infections (colon, coronary artery bypass graft and hip replacement) and central-line associated blood stream infections in adult, pediatric and neonatal intensive care units (ICUs).

New York is the first state to utilize the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network system for HAI reporting, using data collected in 2008 from 186 hospitals that performed the selected surgical procedures or provided intensive care. Data on hip replacement surgery was included for the first time.

NYS DOH has indicated that the report does not single out any one New York Hospital as having higher-than-expected rates of infection, and has reiterated a commitment to working with hospitals to reduce their HAI rates.

Among the major findings of the report:

• Colon surgical-site infection rates decreased significantly in 2008 and were lower than 2006-2007 national rates.

• Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) chest infection rates for 2008 declined from a year ago and were significantly lower when compared with 2006-2007 national rates. CABG donor vessel surgical-site infection rates were identical to 2007 State rates and 2006-2007 national rates.

• Hip replacement surgical-site infection rate of 1.3 percent for 2008 was not statistically different than the national rate of 1.5 percent in 2006-2007.

• Central line-associated bloodstream infection rates in ICUs for 2008 were the same or higher than 2006-2007 national rates.

• The 2008 report also outlines HAI prevention projects funded by the Department to develop, implement and evaluate strategies to reduce hospital-acquired infections.

New York’s hospital-acquired reporting process began with a pilot year in 2007, with first-year findings released on June 30, 2008. During the pilot year, hospital identifiers and hospital-identifiable data were encrypted by the Department in all public reports, as required by Public Health Law 2189. The law does not require encryption for reports released after the pilot year.

Nationally, CDC estimates there were 1.7 million health care-associated infections resulting in 99,000 deaths in 2002. A recent CDC report estimated the annual costs of health care-associated infections to U.S. hospitals to be between $28 billion and $45 billion.

Senator Hannon concluded, “New York has established for its residents a comprehensive and continuous program for reducing hospital-caused infections to a minimum, thus improving the level of health care. Using a risk-adjusted system ensures each hospital will be reporting accurately in light of the different challenges faced by each institution.”