Alabama’s hospitals are effectively controlling healthcare-associated infections


CONTACT: Melanie Chervony, ADPH
(334) 206-5971
CONTACT: Rosemary Blackmon, Alabama Hospital Association
(800) 489-2542

For the seventh year in a row, Alabama’s Healthcare-associated Infections (HAI) program has been committed to protecting patients from adverse healthcare events, while promoting safety, quality and value in Alabama’s healthcare delivery.

“We publish an annual report that provides information on the number of infections per category and whether the hospital performs better than the national average, similar to it, or worse than,” said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris. “In addition to the report, our staff members work with hospitals to improve the accuracy of the reporting, education that not only helps with public reporting, but more importantly helps hospitals collect data that is valuable in their efforts to improve care.”

Last year, Alabama’s hospitals performed better than the national performance level in two of the four important infection-related categories, according to the latest report by the Alabama Department of Public Health. The 2017 annual report reveals state- and hospital-specific infection rates on catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSIs), and two surgical site infection measures (abdominal hysterectomies and colon surgeries). Statewide, Alabama’s hospitals performed better than the national performance level in both the CAUTI and colon surgery categories, while performing similarly in the CLABSI and abdominal hysterectomy categories.

“Alabama’s hospitals continue to focus on preventing infections through extensive staff training, use of evidence-based best practice and through data collection and review, such as the information provided in this report,” said Dr. Donald E. Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association. “I’m proud of the work our hospitals are doing to ensure patients receive the very best care possible and to provide good information to consumers about this care.”

A report released in 2017 by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimates the attributable cost due to an HAI increases $13,793 for each CAUTI and $48,108 for each CLABSI. Dr. Harris stresses the importance of infection prevention, as delays in recovery and the worsening of the condition caused by infections can lead to a higher economic burden.

The annual report is one of several tools patients can use to learn more about a hospital’s quality of care. Other measures are reported on Hospital Compare, a website operated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “While these online resources can be helpful, they are just part of the picture,” added Dr. Harris. “Individuals should always talk with their physicians about the care needed and the best place to receive that care.”

To view the report, visit