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Consumer Reports Health: Central-Line Infection Rates in Atlanta Hospitals Vary; One Hospital Reports Rates Up to 6 Times National Average; Some Hospitals Not Reporting
Date:2/2/2010

onsumer Reports ratings for Georgia hospitals are based on Leapfrog data. "It is important to recognize that many hospitals demonstrate commitment to their communities by willingly reporting safety data -- warts and all. Consumers should be most wary of hospitals that are asked to report by their patients, and refuse," said Leah Binder, CEO of the Leapfrog Group. Binder noted that several hospitals in Atlanta declined to provide their data to Leapfrog during the reporting period, including Grady Memorial Hospital and Piedmont Hospital.  A complete list of non-reporting hospitals can be found at www.leapfroggroup.org/decline.

A Central Line Associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI) is a type of infection caused by the presence of a central line catheter.  A "central line" or "central catheter" is a tube that is placed in a large vein in the neck, chest, or arm to enable the rapid administration of fluids, bloods, or medications. These long, flexible catheters empty out in or near the heart so that the circulatory system can deliver what's put in them within seconds.  A bloodstream infection can occur when bacteria or other germs travel down the central line and enter the bloodstream, making the central line's biggest virtue as a quick pathway for delivering the essentials into its biggest vice.  

Since the risk of infection varies substantially across different types of ICUs, the Consumer Reports ratings are using what is known as a "standardized infection ratio," taking into account the unique mix of ICU types in a given hospital by comparing the hospital infection data for each ICU to the n
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