|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2008
Infection Rates Continue to Drop at City Public Hospitals
Embracing Transparency, HHC Discloses 2007 Hospital-Acquired Infection Rates, New Data to Measure Quality of Care for Diabetes, Asthma Patients
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) today announced that hospital-acquired infections at its 11 hospitals have dropped dramatically since 2005 as part of a larger patient safety program to reduce preventable deaths and unnecessary hospital stays. The new statistics are available on the HHC website, www.nyc.gov/hhc, and is part of the public hospital system's effort to voluntarily share information on hospital quality and safety with the public.
"Hospital-acquired infections such as central line infections and ventilator-associated pneumonias can be life-threatening, especially for critically ill patients," said HHC President Alan Aviles. "These preventable infections continue to be all too common in hospitals across the nation, but our aggressive focus on evidence-based prevention practices is helping us get closer to our goal of eradicating such infections from the intensive care units in our public hospitals."
Since 2005, HHC achieved a 55 percent reduction in the rate of central line bloodstream infections and a 78 percent reduction in the rate of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) among adult patients in intensive care units. Over the last two years, the rates of VAP dropped from 10.5 to 2.3, with the majority of ICUs reaching a rate of 1.5 or less. Central line infections dropped from 7.6 to 3.4, with a majority of ICUs reaching a rate of 2 or less.
HHC also unveiled new statistics that reflect the corporation's performance in helping patients better manage their asthma and diabetes; the number of life-saving screenings HHC provides each year for breast and colon cancer, HIV and deep vein thrombosis; how many flu shots were given; and how many people enrolled in programs to quit smoking.
"We are committed to keeping our communities healthy through robust education, prevention and regular screening for early detection and treatment," said Aviles.
HHC's new infection, disease prevention and chronic disease management data is available on the HHC website, www.nyc.gov/hhc, and is part of the public hospital system's effort to voluntarily share information on hospital quality and safety with the public. Last September 2007, HHC became the first hospital system in New York to make a range of previously confidential quality and patient safety performance measures publicly available.
In addition to the progress in preventing hospital-acquired infections, the 2007 data now posted on HHC's web site show that its system-wide mortality rate continued to stay below relevant national benchmarks. HHC had a 1.52 percent mortality rate in 2007, compared to 1.70 percent in 2003. Overall, the system-wide mortality rate for HHC hospitals decreased by 11 percent from 2003-2007, even though average patient acuity (severity of illness) increased significantly during this time period.
Hospital-Acquired Infection Rates
Hospital-acquired infections are a nationwide problem. It has been estimated that each year nearly two million patients get an infection while being treated in our nation's hospitals, and almost 100,000 of them die. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates the cost of hospital-acquired infections to be as high as $27.5 billion each year.
The reductions in hospital-acquired infections at HHC began in 2006 when 90 percent of the intensive care units in HHC hospitals joined a Critical Care Collaborative program to dramatically reduce infections by consistently following a "bundle" of evidence-based clinical practices. The bundle of interventions include such relatively simple measures as keeping the head of the bed elevated and performing oral hygiene daily for ventilator patients, and ensuring proper hand hygiene and the use of an optimal antiseptic for patients with central lines.
Following common industry practice, the rate of infection during a period is based on the number of infections that occur for every one thousand patient days of possible exposure, which includes patient days on a ventilator or patient days involving central lines.
Prevention and Chronic Disease Management
The new chronic disease data includes the percentage of HHC's nearly 50,000 diabetic patients who have achieved healthy blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are all important indicators for managing diabetes.
To track how effectively the public hospitals are treating asthma patients, one section of the published data reflects the rate of hospitalization for more than 12,000 adult and pediatric asthma patients insured by HHC's MetroPlus health plan, showing HHC has steadily reduced the incidence of hospitalization among asthma patients over the last three years. Because all hospital admissions can be tracked by HHC for these asthma patients through MetroPlus claims data, even if the admissions occur outside the HHC system, this data from MetroPlus most accurately reflects whether HHC care is reducing the incidence of hospitalizations for its asthma patients.
The reported data also shows that from 2003 through 2007, HHC expanded cancer screenings, performing 92,000 colonoscopies and more than 400,000 mammograms. Approximately 176,000 flu shots were given at HHC facilities last year.
A Commitment to Transparency
The "HHC in Focus" section on the HHC web site was created in September 2007 to share with the public some of the performance measurements HHC uses to assess its efforts to continually improve the quality of care provided to patients.
The information disclosed last year includes data reported to the federal government on how often HHC facilities follow best clinical practices in treating heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia, and in preventing surgical site infection; how well HHC nursing homes are doing in providing quality care, including preventing falls; and how HHC hospitals and nursing homes fare against established state and national standards.
"We plan to keep expanding the data that we share with the public on our web site. Our transparent reporting of these performance measures underscores our commitment to quality and our willingness to be held accountable for doing our best to ensure the health of the communities we serve," Aviles said.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the largest municipal hospital and health care system in the country, is a $5.4 billion public benefit corporation that serves 1.3 million New Yorkers and nearly 400,000 who are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 80 community based clinics. Visit the HHC in Focus section of the HHC website, www.nyc.gov/hhc, for more detailed safety and quality data about the New York City public hospital system.