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South Carolina hospital infection numbers released

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Six more months worth of data cataloging hospital- associated infections in South Carolina was made public Monday. But state health officials warn the information is unconfirmed and too raw to be used to compare hospitals, reports Charleston Post and Courier.

The latest report equals a year’s worth of data that can be viewed by the public on S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Web site. State health officials are still checking the quality and accuracy of their data. A report requiring DHEC to compare hospitals is due Feb. 1.

The Hospital Infections Disclosure Act became state law in May 2006 and mandates that hospitals report preventable infections to health officials. Only a handful of states require such public reporting.

So far, only certain types of infections are tracked: central line-associated bloodstream infections; surgical site infections for selected procedures; and laboratory blood cultures positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA. Additional reporting procedures will be added.

Variables such as hospital size and patients’ level of disease make it difficult to compare numbers.

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