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Health Care-Associated Infections Drop in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Health shared some good news this week: health care-associated infections (HAIs) have been decreasing across the state. The department’s annual 2011 report showed that infections obtained while receiving medical care decreased more than 3 percent.

According to an article on the RepublicanHerald.com, three benchmarks were used to determine hospital performance, including catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central-line blood stream infections, and six types of surgical site infections.

Here in Schuylkill County is no exception. The article said that the overall HAI rate at Schuylkill Medical Center-South Jackson Street was 0.89 percent for 2011, down from 1.16 percent in 2010, 1.30 percent in 2009, and 1.15 in 2008. The overall HAI rate st Schuylkill Medical Center-East Norwegian Street was 1.02 percent for 2011, down from 1.70 in 2010, 2.51 in 2009, and 2.07 in 2008.

One reason for the decrease may be the state’s specific guidelines regarding catheters. Over recent years, the state has implemented specific guidelines for insertion, daily monitoring, and cleaning.

Experts still agree that, “The number one way to stop the spread of infection is hand washing.”