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CMS Adds Hospital Infection Data to Comparison Web Site

By CQ Staff

February 7, 2012 -- Information about central line-associated bloodstream infections, which federal officials have made a priority to get under control, will now be included on the government's Hospital Compare Web site, Medicare officials recently announced.

"Including central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) information on Hospital Compare will save lives and cut costs," said acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. "Adding this information to Hospital Compare extends the administration's commitment to make American health care safer."

CMS officials said that these infections are among the most serious of all health care-associated infections. They result in thousands of deaths each year and nearly $700 million in added costs to the U.S. health care system.

CMS estimates that in 2009, there were about 41,000 such infections in U.S. hospitals. Studies show that up to 25 percent of patients who get a CLABSI will die from the infection. Caring for a patient with a CLABSI adds about $17,000 to a hospitalization. These infections prolong hospitalizations and can cause death.

"Today, consumers are getting access to data provided to hospital leaders and clinicians to monitor progress in reducing CLABSIs," CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, said in a statement. "This information allows CDC and CMS to highlight prevention and pinpoint where more work is needed on these avoidable infections."

CMS began a project, Partnership for Patients, in an effort to combat people from getting sick while in the care of the health system. Last fall, CDC also announced that central line infections had declined by 33 percent in 2010.

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