At last
California fights infections with disclosure

About this project

In January 2011, California becomes the last of the big states to disclose the incidence of hospital-caused infections. Hospital infections kill an estimated 13,500 Californians a year, but critics say the state’s hospitals and health department remain far behind other states in waging war against this largely preventable scourge. The new law doesn’t require identification of where deaths occurred and doesn’t include surgery centers, which account for a growing number of surgeries.

Findings

  • In January 2011, California becomes the last of the big states to disclose the incidence of hospital-caused infections.
  • Hospital infections kill an estimated 13,500 Californians a year, but critics say the state’s hospitals and health department remain far behind other states in waging war against this largely preventable scourge.

Stories

A look at the four infections California will soon report

The California Department of Public Health is required to report data from acute-care hospitals on four different hospital-acquired infections:

California to fight infections with disclosure

After Carole Moss’s 15-year-old son died from an infection in 2006 in an Orange County hospital, she launched a one-woman crusade to force hospitals throughout California to reveal how many of their patients contract serious infections.

More reading on hospital acquired infections

- "The Checklist,” Atul Gawande, New Yorker, Dec. 10, 2007.

Pronovost shows how checklists can slash infections

If the infection fight has a national hero, that would be Dr. Peter Pronovost, a Johns Hopkins anesthesiologist who has convinced some of the country’s most prestigious hospitals to fight infections with a simple five-point checklist.

Some states aggressively push disclosure of infection data

When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a 2004 infection reporting bill, less than a half-dozen states had passed laws requiring hospitals to inform the public about infections that patients acquired at hospitals.

20 California Hospitals that did not report their Hospital Acquired Infection incidents

The following California Hospitals did not report to the state on their Hospital Acquired Infection incidents, January 2009-March 2010...

California Health Department releases Infection data, but with caveats

For nearly a decade, patient advocates have been waiting to hear which California hospitals have good safety records, and which are plagued with high infection rates.

Capital Public Radio features hospital infection project

Senior reporter Deborah Schoch appeared on Capital Public Radio's Insight show today to talk about her in-depth reporting on California's hospital infection rates. California just released infection data for most of the general acute care hospitals...

Guide to the Infection Numbers

For the first time, health care consumers can learn about infection counts at most California hospitals. Due to a complex format, however, consumers may need some time to navigate the new 95-page report. A few pointers:

Impact of 'California fights infections'

Deborah Schoch's reporting had a significant impact on the California Department of Public Health and its commitment to providing consumers with helpful information.

Authors

Deborah Schoch

Deborah Schoch

Senior writer Deborah Schoch reports on hospitals and health care delivery, nursing homes, environmental health and food. Her most recent articles have examined patient safety andhospital infections. She was a founding writer with the Center’s pilot project. Schoch spent 18 years as a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, covering public health and the environment. She was a member of the Times newsroom teams that won Pulitzer Prizes for breaking news in 1992 and 1994. Schoch graduated from Cornell University and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1999-2000, studying science, law and policy. Her work at the Center has won several honors, including first place in the 2010 Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, from the Association of Health Care Journalists. She sits on the AHCJ board’s Right-to-Know Committee, which works to improve access to public health records.

Project Partners

© 2018 Center for Health Reporting

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