Pa. releases infections report

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 5, 2005

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Pennsylvania hospitals reported nearly 12,000 hospital-acquired infections in 2004, according to a state agency study that is the first of its kind.

The 11,668 infections were associated with 1,793 deaths, according to the report released in July by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4). The infections resulted in 205,000 extra hospital days and cost $2 billion in additional hospital charges, researchers for the state agency concluded.

PHC4 Executive Director Marc Volavka said that even though hospitals were required by law to report the infection data, the discrepancy between the 11,668 infections reported to PHC4 and the 115,631 billed to purchasers, insurers and the government led him to believe that some hospitals provided only minimal information.

"What was actually reported represents the tip of the iceberg," Volavka said.

The Hospital & Healthsystem Assn. of Pennsylvania said in a statement that the increasing number of infections reported in each succeeding quarter demonstrated that hospital participation in the study was on the rise.

HAP President and CEO Carolyn Scanlan did dispute PHC4's cost estimate, however, arguing that no distinction was made between infection-related costs and costs related to the patient's entire hospital stay.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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