CRMC Scores in DOH Hospital Infection Report In the recently released New
York State Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) 2011 Report, Cortland Regional
Medical Center performed well in keeping infections low for the areas
it was rated in. The report compares New York state hospitals rates of
surgical site infections, blood stream infections, and incidence of Clostridium
difficile, using data from both 2010 and 2011.
According to Maria Whitaker, CRMC Infection Preventionist, medical center
staff has placed a high priority on ensuring a safer healing environment
for its patients. "Infection control and prevention programs are
a very important component of our ongoing performance improvement efforts.
This report shows our efforts are very effective."
In the area of surgical site infections, CRMC was assessed its performance
with regard to colon and hip surgeries. Only one infection associated
with colon surgery was reported in 2011, which is a well below the state
average. There were zero infections for hip surgeries. Whitaker attributes
the success in this area to staff strictly following Center for Disease
Control (CDC) guidelines for infection prevention. These include thorough
pre admission screening for risk factors that may be encountered during
surgery, proper timing of use of antibiotics, and a post operation phone
call to patients to determine whether he or she may be exhibiting complications
The second area in the report pertains to central line infections in the
medical ICU. A central line is a long thin tube that is placed into a
large vein, usually in the neck, chest, arm, or groin, and is used to
give the patient fluids or medication, and monitor the patient's condition.
Only two central line infections occurred in the ICU in 2011. According
to Whitaker, those two incidents were investigated using root cause analysis.
"We corrected what we believed the problems were, and have not had
another infection in 17 months."
Whitaker indicated that staff has really "bought into" the importance
of good hand hygiene, and the other four aspects of the Institute for
Healthcare Improvement "central line bundle" for preventing
these infections: barrier precautions, chlorhexidine skin antisepsis,
appropriate catheter site and administration system care, and no routine
The final area of the report is incidence of C.difficile. This is a bacterium
that resides naturally in the bowels. Overgrowth can result from the patient
taking antibiotics, or coming in contact with contaminated surfaces or
items. The result is production of toxin in the bowels that can cause
severe diarrhea and, in some extreme cases, death. In 2011, CRMC logged
only 15 C.difficile cases out of 21,917 days, a rate well below the state
average. Whitaker credits enhanced infection prevention measures for patients
suspected of having C.difficile. "We stress hand hygiene and education
for our staff, and utilize isolation precautions when necessary."
Whitaker points to the NYSHAI 2011 report as evidence that CRMC staff place
a premium on patient safety and providing individualized care. "We
closely monitor our infection rates, implement prevention and control
interventions, measure the effectiveness of those interventions, and make
improvements as needed. We're committed to putting patient safety
The full New York State Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) 2011 Report
can be viewed at