Healthcare workers buy $882k radio ad to highlight high infection rates at Stanford University Medical Center

Healthcare workers rolled out an $882,000 radio ad campaign March 19 to increase awareness about high infection rates and healthcare costs at Stanford (Calif.) University Medical Center.

The minute-long ad will air on 11 radio stations throughout the Bay Area.

"As Stanford Health Care has expanded in the Bay Area, they've lost track of the basics like preventing patient infections," the ad's narrator says. "Patients shouldn't have to worry about contracting infections when treated at Stanford Hospital."

High infection rates rest at the center of a monthslong contract dispute between Stanford University Medical Center and SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, which represents more than 1,800 Stanford employees. Union members released a report last July citing federal data to highlight patient safety and infection control concerns at the hospital. For example, CMS data showed nearly 700 patients acquired Clostridium difficile at Stanford University Medical Center from 2013 through 2016, according to the union.

However, hospital officials said the hospital's infection rates are actually above the national benchmark.

 "As we communicated to the union previously, Stanford Health Care's Standardized Infection Ratio score actually exceeds the industry benchmark at preventing infections. … Stanford Health Care's current quality score on the Hospital Compare website is four stars, and only 22.4 percent of the more than 4,500 hospitals rated achieved four or five stars," a spokesperson for Stanford Health Care said in a statement emailed to Becker's Hospital Review.

"Our rankings are a testament to our dedicated employees and their commitment to quality care and ongoing improvement efforts," the spokesperson said. "We feel it is unfortunate and disrespectful to our employees and the community that SEIU-UHW continues to distort the facts."


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