Consumer Reports Compiles List of Hospitals by Rates of C. difficile Infection

October 13, 2016
Rachel Lutz

Many major hospitals that admit varied patients with a wide breadth of ailments, including the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, have high rates of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection, according to the report.

The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City have the highest rates of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection, according to a report compiled by Consumer Reports.

The rankings, the report explained, was based on (CDC) data from October 2014 and September 2015. The results were adjusted for various factors like hospital size, if it is a teaching hospital or not, and how common the infection is in the community surrounding the hospital. It was possible for hospitals to receive low C. difficile scores but perform well in measures of other infection, such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or surgical-site infection; vice versa was also a possibility.

Also on the list were Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals in Boston, the Cleveland Clinic, and Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut.

Spokespeople for Baylor and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, another hospital to make the list, made similar statements to Consumer Reports saying that they routinely admit patients with multiple conditions, some of which are elderly which could increase the risk of contracting C. difficile. They even mentioned that some patients have the infection before being admitted to the hospital facility.

“Doctors and nurses get busy,” Louise-Marie Dembry, MD, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Yale University and president of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, said in the article. “Sometimes they simply forget to rewash their hands when they walk into a new patient’s room.”

Maimonedes Medical Center in Brooklyn was one of two large (defined as having at least 500 beds) teaching hospitals to earn a score for C. difficile infection rates at least 50 percent better than the national mark. The other was Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida.

“Fatigue develops, just like with anything else,” added Edward Chapnick, MD, director of the Division of Infectious Disease at Maimonides. “Screen-saver messages, email reminders, we’ve tried all of those things. People start to not see them after a while," he says. "It’s not that they don’t care. It’s just that they’re human.”

Chapnick continued by saying that clear person-to-person dialogue between those responsible for infection control and the hospital staff itself is the most effective way to battle rising infection rates.

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