Consumer Reports Health: Central-line infection rates in Boston Hospitals vary dramatically

Consumer Reports has posted hospital infection rates for 25 Boston area hospitals, along with other critical patient safety and satisfaction information for consumers.  Bloodstream infections cause at least 30 percent of the estimated 99,000 annual hospital-infection-related deaths in the U.S. and add on average $42,000 to the hospital bills of each ICU patient who gets a central-line infection.

Five hospitals in the Boston area reported zero central line infections: Southcoast Hospitals Group-Charlton Memorial Hospital, Faulkner Hospital, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, and Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital.  Massachusetts General Hospital reported a rate that was 51 percent better than average and Brigham and Women's Hospital reported a rate that was 29 percent better than average.

The Consumer Reports online ratings are based on hospitals that publicly report their infection rates as a result of state laws and hospitals that voluntarily report to the Leapfrog Group, a Washington D.C. based nonprofit, works with large employers and purchasers of health care to measure and publicly report on hospital safety and quality in 41 states in the U.S. (www.leapfroggroup.org).  

(SOURCES: Consumer Reports, http://consumerreports.org, February 2, 2010; The Boston Herald, http://bostonherald.com, February 2, 2010)