How 9 hospitals responded to Consumer Reports ratings as worst in the country

Consumer Reports policy in action arm, Consumers Union, launched a social media campaign this summer called "The Low-Down Dozen," which flagged 12 hospitals with low scores across five types of hospital infections between October 2013 and September 2014.

Hospitals were rated by CDC data on MRSA, C. diff infections, surgical-site infections, urinary tract infections and central-line catheter-associated infections. Data was adjusted by patient health, hospital size and teaching hospital status.

The following nine hospitals, listed alphabetically, performed poorly in all five categories, and provided written statements to Consumer Reports following the ranking. Three hospitals have yet to respond to their "Low-Down Dozen" status.

1. Brooklyn Hospital Center (New York City)
The Brooklyn-based hospital said it has an antimicrobial stewardship program in place 24/7 and has a specific infection control program.

"Preventing infections is a difficult and challenging issue all hospitals confront. TBHC has made significant changes in its infection control policies, procedures and practices, with an improved culture of safety since the time period stated in the article. Our hospital is on the forefront of adopting best practices and is now under an enhanced infection control program that has resulted in improved processes. There has been a significant reduction in hospital acquired infection rates since last quarter 2014 with sustained improvements through 2015," the hospital said in a written response.

2. Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services (New Albany, Ind.)
The hospital indicated it changed its method of testing for detection of C. diff in mid-2013 to include an additional test, the Nucleic Acid Amplification Test. This higher-sensitivity test helped detect more organisms, but the hospital was still compared to hospitals using a less-sensitive testing method.

Floyd Memorial said it has made a number of changes since the time period covered in the ratings, including increasing the number of Infection Preventionists, enhancing its antimicrobial stewardship program, launching a "Scrub-the-Hub Campaign" for isolation precautions, redesigning isolation signage and education, and focusing on training and auditing room cleaning practices. Additionally, the hospital said in a written statement it has nearly eliminated MRSA bloodstream infections since the time of the study.

3. Fremont-Rideout Health Group (Marysville, Calif.)
"During the last year and a half the team here at Rideout has made great strides to reduce infections and improve the care we provide to our patients. We are committed to patient safety and healthcare-associated infections are a major patient safety issue that Rideout Hospital takes very seriously," Fremont-Rideout said in a statement.

It also noted it underwent a major change in infection prevention management in early 2014. Fremont-Rideout appointed a new director of infection prevention and current data reflects a greater than 50 percent improvement in infections.

4. Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers (Evergreen Park, Ill.)
LCMH said it had one more than the "expected" number of MRSA blood stream infections and that it was testing patients at the time of the study who were colonized with C. diff, which made the case number appear higher. The hospital began an antimicrobial stewardship program in 2015 and has a special team for infection prevention and control.

"LCMH is committed to providing our patients quality healthcare and take these findings very seriously. LCMH has added a number of Process Improvement Teams in order to make sure that we are continually reviewing this data and improving our outcomes," the hospital wrote in a statement.

5. Riverview Medical Center (Red Bank, N.J.)
"We take the meeting of quality standards very seriously and welcome the additional focus that measuring and reporting brings to the process. While infection rate is just one measure of a hospital's overall safety record, it is certainly an important one. We are intensely mindful that each number in the wrong direction, regardless of how small a number as in our case, represents a person and a life that we are committed to protecting. Seeing our scores in comparison to others during this time period from 2013-2014 is a sobering reminder that we can never lose our focus on keeping our patients safe," the hospital said.

In a statement, Riverview said it has been working to implement changes that are already yielding improvements.

6. Rockdale Medical Center (Conyers, Ga.)
"We are disappointed that the most recent Consumer Report lists Rockdale among the lowest ranking for infection prevention during this time period. This information only represents a small portion of our hospital's overall performance and does not reflect our most recent quality improvements and patient safety efforts," Rockdale wrote in a statement.

It said newer CDC data and CMS data shows the hospital has increased patient safety and is consistent with national benchmarks.

7. St. Petersburg (Fla.) General Hospital
St. Petersburg General said it is "aggressively working towards zero infections."

"We have several efforts in place specifically targeting infection control, including an antibiotic stewardship program that helps ensure appropriate use through constantly tracking and evaluating antibiotic utilization. In addition, we monitor our infection prevention practices to continually improve upon our processes. One area noted in the

Consumer Reports study as our biggest challenge was that of catheter-urinary tract infections, and our current data reflects zero infections during the first and second quarters of 2015," the hospital said in a statement.

8. UF Health Jacksonville (Fla.)
"We believe the data used in the report on hospital acquired infections was affected in part by the implementation of our electronic medical record system and resulting failure to capture within the new system patient conditions that were present upon admission," the hospital wrote. "We have retrained clinicians as to the appropriate way to document these issues and have significantly improved their capture rate. In other words, what this means is we now have a more accurate accounting of what possible issues patients present upon admission."

UF Health Jacksonville also said as a large, urban teaching hospital, its complex patient population may have contributed to its ratings. The hospital has an antibiotic stewardship program, an infection prevention and control program and has launched several quality improvement initiatives since the time of the study.

9. Venice Regional Bayfront Health (Venice, Fla.)
Venice Regional Bayfront has continuous quality improvement programs in place and reported since last year it has decreased catheter and central line infections for ICU patients by 63 percent and it has reduced C. diff infections by 36 percent.

The following three hospitals made the "Low-Down Dozen" list, but have not yet provided an official response to Consumer Reports.

  • Decatur (Ill.) Memorial Hospital
  • Mercy St. Anne Hospital (Toledo, Ohio)
  • The Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (Torrington, Conn.)


More articles on quality:

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State cites University of Washington Medical Center's pharmacy for being dirty
Should antibiotics be prescribed during end-of-life care? 3 tips

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