Across the country, one in six hospitals has high rates of one of the most serious kinds of preventable infections — those caused by catheters inserted into large veins, according to new data published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Patients at hospitals in Maryland, Mississippi, Louisiana, Maine and New Hampshire were most likely to get blood infections caused by central lines, which are narrow tubes inserted in a major vein to inject medicine or fluids or to perform tests.
Hawaii, Alaska, South Dakota, Kansas and Indiana had the lowest rates, according to the data, which cover the first three months of 2011.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the source of the data CMS is publishing on its Hospital Compare website, says there were about 41,000 central-line associated bloodstream infections in 2009. A line that hasn’t been cleaned or is inserted incorrectly can lead to germs getting into a patient’s bloodstream. CMS says treating these infections adds about $17,000 to a hospital stay.