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It's the Same Old Song: 'Accentuate the Positive' as New York State Department of Health Releases Statewide Hospital Infection Rates

Statement From the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths (RID)

NEW YORK, July 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "These are not facts to be proud of," says Betsy McCaughey, Chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and a former Lt. Governor of New York State. The New York State Hospital-Acquired Infection Reporting System 2007 report, released today, constantly compares New York's performance with national infection rate averages, and finds the state slightly below or slightly above these averages. But the only acceptable infection rate is zero. Hospitals that settle for being below average are dangerous places to be. Would you volunteer your mother to get an infection at a hospital with a below average rate?

"For example, central line associated blood stream infections are totally preventable," says McCaughey. Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City hasn't had a central line infection in the cardiac intensive care unit in over 950 days. Not one. Such evidence is why Medicare now considers central line infections 'never events' and will stop reimbursing hospitals to treat them beginning October 1, 2008. Central line infections should never happen.

It is shocking that New York State refuses to follow Medicare's example. New York's Medicaid program for low-income patients continues to pay for treating infections contracted in hospitals, including central line infections. The state is bowing to the hospital lobby rather than protecting patients.

The Department of Health report emphasizes the risk factors that may predispose a patient to succumb to infection, including obesity. But there is no mention of the biggest risk factor of all: being treated in an unclean hospital with lax procedures.

"I founded RID because when I was Lt. Governor, so many people came to me suffering because of a hospital infection. The report's real utility is in reminding hospitals how far they have to go."

RID is a 501c(3) national campaign to stop hospital infections by improving hospital hygiene and procedures.

For more information, see

SOURCE Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths
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