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Kansas Hospitals Getting Better At Preventing Infections

The first-ever statewide report on infections occurring in Kansas hospitals shows progress against two specific types of infections.

Hand-washing is one of the most important precautions to keep from spreading germs to susceptible patients. Hospitals are also trying to use urinary catheters only when there’s no other option. They’re also reducing the use of central lines—IV ports that go into a large blood vessel.

The results from 2011 show that Kansas is well below national averages for usage of those devices, and for the infections that result.

Joey Scaletta directs the Kansas healthcare-associated infections program. He says approximately five of every 100 patients admitted to a hospital contract an infection while there.

“CDC estimates that 70 percent of healthcare-associated infections are preventable by following and adhering to evidence-based practice,” he says.

According to the CDC, Americans contract 1.7 million infections every year while being treated in hospitals, 99,000 people die from these infections. This adds $30 billion to the nation’s healthcare costs.

The figures are only from intensive care units at 52 of the state’s larger hospitals.