Sussex county hospitals penalized by u.s. government over patient safety the latest from delaware 105.9 delaware1059.com staphylococcus causes

Gary Siegelman, MD, MSc, Senior Vice President/Chief Medical Officer at Bayhealth, provided a statement to Delaware 105.9’s Rob Petree, citing the data resulting in penalizations is from two to three years ago and said specific measures have been adopted that reduced infections.

Medicare data on hospital acquired infections is useful for both patients and hospitals. However, the data from the most recent Medicare report is two to three years old (from 2015-2016). In most areas, Bayhealth was better than national targets, and has made improvements over the last 24 months in areas that did not meet our high expectations. This has led to further reduction in infections in all areas measured, said Siegelman.

Specific measures adopted by Bayhealth have reduced infections. These measures include better managing blood glucose levels after surgery, reducing unneeded use of urinary catheters, and limiting blood draws when using specialized IV lines.


Bayhealth will continue our process improvements and staff training focused on patient safety and high reliability – part of our ongoing commitment to provide excellent patient care.

The same sentiment was shared by Penny Short, RN, Chief Operating Officer/Chief Nursing Officer for Nanticoke Health Services, who said it is very likely the patient came to the hospital with the infection, but it was not confirmed by test results until after the short timeframe designated by Medicare.

“It is always important to get data to continuously improve processes around patient care,” said Penny Short, RN, Chief Operating Officer/Chief Nursing Officer. “An education point that we want to share is that sometimes patients arrive with symptoms of infection but due to test timing, the diagnosis of a condition falls outside the Medicare parameters and will then be reflected negatively on the hospital, explained Short.

It is very likely the patient came to the hospital with the infection, but it was not confirmed by test results until after the short timeframe designated by Medicare. It’s also important to note for Nanticoke, the penalty was for 2015 data. From its own data, Nanticoke was already aware and making process improvements in 2015, well ahead of receiving the data from Medicare and continues to monitor processes around patient care. Continually improving patient care at Nanticoke is taken very seriously and we have many clinical and quality teams working to do our very best for our patients as evidenced by our 4-Star rating for quality from CMS/Medicare.

The area Beebe Healthcare most needed to improve (that represents a significant portion of the HAC Reduction Program Penalty) is hospital acquired Clostridium Difficile (“C-Diff”) infections. Beebe Healthcare has been working diligently to decrease our C-Diff infections, and over the past three years has decreased our C-Diff infection rates from 2.2 to 0.83 (rate as of November 30, 2017). The national infection rate reported in the 2018 HAC Reduction Program is 0.96. Beebe’s current rate is 0.83.

Therefore, Beebe’s current rate is less than the national rate. The measurement period reported for the HAC Penalty is from January 2015 to December 2016, so unfortunately our most recent improvements have not yet been recognized by the program, Jack explained.

Beebe Healthcare was able to decrease the rates of hospital acquired C-Diff infections by deploying new cleaning equipment (notably Hydrogen Peroxide Misters), improving patient room cleaning procedures, educating nurses, doctors and technicians about isolation precautions for patients with C-Diff, practicing hand hygiene and implementing an Antimicrobial Stewardship Program. Being diligent with regards to antibiotic use such as NOT prescribing for a viral infection, choosing the most appropriate type of antibiotic, and monitoring the duration and form of antibiotic, has shown to significantly decrease C-Diff infections.”