Hospitals

Cleveland Clinic quits reporting infection data to patient safety group

Cleveland Clinic has stopped voluntarily reporting data on hospital-acquired infections to a prominent patient-safety nonprofit, The Leapfrog Group. The move prompted some mild criticism of the Clinic from the director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. “Cleveland Clinic is rightfully proud of the many positive reports on its care,” said Dr. John Santa. “But […]

Cleveland Clinic has stopped voluntarily reporting data on hospital-acquired infections to a prominent patient-safety nonprofit, The Leapfrog Group.

The move prompted some mild criticism of the Clinic from the director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.

“Cleveland Clinic is rightfully proud of the many positive reports on its care,” said Dr. John Santa. “But it should also be accountable for care that needs to be improved in some of its hospitals. And part of that accountability is to be transparent with patients when problems occur.”

Cleveland Clinic spokeswoman Eileen Sheil told Consumer Reports that the hospital stopped reporting to Leapfrog so it could focus its efforts on reports it makes to similar government-run databases, such as one from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that all hospitals must now report to.

“We are committed to safe, high-quality outcomes and transparency,” she said.

A Consumer Reports analysis earlier this year revealed that the Clinic scored substantially worse than the national average for bloodstream infections in its intensive care units. At the time, the Clinic told Consumer Reports that it was taking steps to improve its infection rates,  including frequent reviews of reported infections, participation in regional and national collaboratives to reduce infections, and adopting best practices in all of its hospitals.

Started in 1998, the Leapfrog Group works with its employer members who pool their purchasing power to encourage transparency and easy access to healthcare information. Leapfrog publishes an annual survey that it calls “the gold standard for comparing hospitals’ performance on the national standards of safety, quality and efficiency.”

Hospital participation in the survey is voluntary. In 2009, more than 1,200 hospitals across the country completed the survey.

In addition to the Clinic, Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital and Parkview Health in Fort Wayne, Indiana have stopped reporting infection data to Leapfrog, according to Consumer Reports.

The two most common hospital-acquired infections are central line-associated bloodstream infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia, according to MedPage Today.

In 2002, one in every 20 hospitalized patients developed a healthcare-associated infection, which makes the infections one of the leading causes of deaths and illnesses in the U.S., and costs up to $33 billion dollars, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.