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Latest health care-associated infections report shows marked improvement in hospital patient safety

Oregon hospitals continued their improvement towards eliminating health care-associated infections that are reported to the state, according to a report released today by the Oregon Health Authority. The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems said the report highlights the continued success Oregon hospitals have had in improving clinical quality and patient safety. Supporting that assertion was the release of a national report on hospital safety by the Leapfrog group on Tuesday, which showed Oregon's hospitals moving the state from 48th best in their hospital safety rankings in 2012 to 8th best in the most recent edition.

Oregon hospitals are better than the national baseline for all reported infection types. They also met or exceeded targets set by the Department of Health and Human Services in nine of the reported infection types.

"Oregon hospitals are committed to provide safe care for every patient," said Cheryl Wolfe, chair of the OAHHS Quality Committee. "Today's OHA report and the Leapfrog scorecard demonstrate that hospitals have maintained that commitment as a priority for quality patient care. Consistent and sustained effort is required, along with a relentless focus on incorporating best practices and learning from the data to achieve these sorts of results."

In an effort to spread a culture of safety, Oregon health care providers have participated in initiatives that address accountability and improved practices. For instance, fifty-two of Oregon's 62 hospitals took part in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Partnership for Patients (PfP) initiative, which aimed to reduce preventable harm by 40 percent and readmissions by 20 percent. Since beginning their Partnership for Patients work, hospitals working with OAHHS achieved a 40 percent or greater reduction in CAUTI, CLABSI, surgical site infections, ventilator-associated complications, and early elective deliveries. The PfP work was accomplished primarily during 2014-2016 and helped lay the foundation to maintain sustained efforts in Oregon hospital patient safety.

"This report is a testament to the ongoing infection prevention efforts by our Oregon healthcare facilities." said Rebecca Pierce, Ph.D., manager of OHA's Healthcare-Associated Infections Program. "In this era of mounting antibiotic resistance, we need to work together to prevent the transmission of dangerous organisms both between and within healthcare facilities, to track and prevent antibiotic overuse, and to reinforce the infection control practices that keep our patients safe. This report is an important milestone as we work to better understand where Oregon is doing well and where we can improve to prevent infections."

Patients are important partners in helping to keep themselves well. They can reduce the risk of infection by taking all the pre-hospitalization infection prevention steps their doctors recommend, such as a pre-surgical antibacterial shower or bath, not shaving before surgery, and stopping smoking. They should also take antibiotics and other medications exactly as directed by their doctors, and ask their visitors to clean their hands before visiting and to stay home if they are sick.

The Oregon Healthcare-Associated Infections Report stems from legislation passed in 2007 to create a mandatory reporting program to raise awareness, promote transparency for health care consumers, and motivate health care providers to prioritize prevention.

The OHA report, completed by the Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) Program, is available at

The Leapfrog Group report is available at