Consumer Reports rates hospitals on C. diff infections: 4 highest, 24 lowest performing teaching hospitals

Many hospitals — especially large teaching hospitals — are struggling to prevent Clostridium difficile infections, according to new ratings from Consumer Reports.

The magazine used CDC data from April 2014 and March 2015 to update its ratings related to C. diff. It found roughly one-third of more than 3,200 rated hospitals have C. diff infection rates worse than the national average.

Large teaching hospitals in particular seem to have a problem with the bacterial infection: 24 large teaching hospitals (those with more than 500 beds) received one of the two lowest ratings for C. diff from Consumer Reports. Furthermore, even though roughly 28 percent of hospitals earned one of the top two scores for C. diff prevention, juts four of them were large teaching hospitals.

In alphabetical order, the four highest scoring large teaching hospitals in preventing C. diff are:

  1. Harris Health System (Houston)
  2. Maine Medical Center (Portland)
  3. Maimonedes Medical Center (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
  4. Mount Sinai St. Luke's-Mount Sinai West (New York)

In alphabetical order, the 24 large teaching hospitals that got the lowest scores in preventing C. diff are:

  1. Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center (Milwaukee)
  2. Baylor University Medical Center (Dallas)
  3. Beaumont Hospital-Royal Oak (Mich.)
  4. Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston)
  5. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles)
  6. Christiana Care Health System (Newark, Del.)
  7. Cleveland Clinic
  8. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)
  9. Indiana University Health System (Indianapolis)
  10. Inova Fairfax Hospital (Falls Church, Va.)
  11. Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore)
  12. Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston)
  13. MedStar Washington Hospital Center (District of Columbia)
  14. Montefiore Medical Center (Bronx, N.Y.)
  15. Mount Sinai Hospital (New York)
  16. Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals (Philadelphia)
  17. University of Maryland Medical Center (Baltimore)
  18. University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers (Ann Arbor)
  19. UF Health Shands Hospital (Gainesville, Fla.)
  20. UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside (Pittsburgh)
  21. VCU Medical Center (Richmond, Va.)
  22. Vidant Medical Center (Greenville, N.C.)
  23. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (Winston-Salem, N.C.)
  24. Yale-New Haven (Conn.) Hospital

Some teaching hospitals on the low-performing list responded to Consumer Reports, saying they tend to see sicker patients than nonteaching hospitals, and they also do a better job at testing and reporting C. diff infections than smaller hospitals, which could explain their low scores.

Still, many of the large teaching hospitals are taking these findings seriously, telling Consumer Reports they are creating task forces, changing antibiotic prescription and stepping up on hand hygiene and environmental cleaning protocols.

Click here to see complete hospital ratings from Consumer Reports. Find information on how the magazine rates hospitals here.

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