Alabama’s hospitals continue to improve quality by reducing healthcare-associated infections


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

For the eighth 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, providing education that not only helps with public reporting, but more importantly helps hospitals collect data that is valuable in their efforts to improve care.”

Alabama’s hospitals performed better than the national performance level in three of the four important infection-related categories, according to the latest report by the Alabama Department of Public Health, which is for calendar year 2018. The 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 the CAUTI, CLABSI and colon surgery categories, while performing similarly in the abdominal hysterectomy category.

“I’m extremely proud of the work our hospitals are doing to improve patient quality and safety by preventing hospital-acquired infections,” said Donald E. Williamson, MD, president of the Alabama Hospital Association. “This latest statewide report highlights the tremendous time and effort that goes into making care safer for patients by preventing the spread of infections. With the flu season upon us, I would add that it’s important for all Alabamians to help their local hospital in this effort by avoiding visiting patients when they are sick, washing their hands when entering the hospital and getting a flu vaccination.”

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. Several studies report that a simple and straightforward process, taking only a few seconds to clean hands with an alcohol-based hand rub helps to prevent HAIs and save lives, reduces morbidity and minimizes healthcare costs.

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


County health departments throughout Alabama provide a wide range of confidential and professional services. Contact your local county health department for additional information.

Mission: To promote, protect, and improve Alabama’s health

Vision: Healthy People. Healthy Communities. Healthy Alabama.