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The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

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DHMH Press Releases : preventable blood stream infections



BALTIMORE (October 20, 2011) - The Maryland Health Care Commission’s most recent update to the Maryland Hospital Performance Evaluation Guide shows that Maryland hospitals have made significant progress in reducing serious but preventable infections that occur in Intensive Care Units. Central line associated bloodstream infections, or CLABSIs, occur in patients who have an intravenous central line catheter in place. These potentially devastating infections can largely be prevented by proper insertion and care of the catheter. One year ago, in October 2010, the Commission first reported on CLABSIs for the 12-month period from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010. During that period, Maryland acute care hospitals reported 424 CLABSIs in adult ICUs and 48 CLABSIs in Neonatal ICUs (NICUs). The more current data for the 12-month period, July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011, shows a 37% reduction in CLABSIs in Maryland hospitals, with 262 CLABSIs in adult ICUs and 34 CLABSIs in NICUs.

A comparison with national data shows that Maryland, as a whole, experienced less CLABSI than would be predicted after adjusting for ICU type. The current data shows the four Maryland hospitals (Suburban, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, St. Agnes, and Johns Hopkins) had better (lower) ICU infection rates than the national experience. Thirty-nine hospitals had overall infection rates that were not significantly different from the national experience

All acute care hospitals in Maryland with adult and/or pediatric ICUs and NICUs are required to report data to the Commission for public reporting. Maryland is one of 18 states that use the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) system to support mandatory public reporting of healthcare associated infection data, but one of only eleven states that have initiated audits to verify the accuracy of the hospital data.

"Reducing these preventable healthcare-associated infections will improve patient care outcomes and save health care dollars,” said Marilyn Moon, Ph.D., Chair of the Commission. "The progress that Maryland hospitals have made in reducing infections in ICUs is quite encouraging. The Commission hopes that hospitals are able to expand their prevention initiatives to all units within their respective facilities to eliminate preventable infections hospital-wide."

"This improvement in the number of bloodstream infections is very good news for Maryland patients," said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. "Additional efforts around the state offer the promise of even better results."

Maryland Health Care Commission’s Hospital Guide can be found on the web at:

For Additional Information about the Hospital Guide, contact:

Theressa Lee, Chief Hospital Quality Initiatives 410-764-3328