Most hospital-acquired infections and conditions by U.S. state

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When a person needs medical attention, most of the time, they will go to a hospital. Hospitals are the best resource when it comes to finding the right care for a person’s healthcare needs. However, sometimes complications arise, and a patient will leave a hospital with an illness or infection that they did not have while arriving. This is what is known as a hospital-acquired infection (HAI), and they are more common than one might think.

What are hospital-acquired infections (HAIs)?

Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), also known as hospital-acquired conditions (HACs), are infections that a patient may contract at a hospital while receiving treatment for another condition. HAIs are not present or incubating at the time of hospital admission and usually take around 48 hours after admission to manifest.

Definitive Healthcare currently tracks hospital quality metrics related to HAIs for more than 7,300 hospitals. In this blog, we will focus on the most common hospital-acquired infections, including catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), surgical site infections (SSIs), for hysterectomies and colorectal procedures, Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) intestinal infections, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) blood infections and Central Line-associated Blood Stream Infection (CLABSI).

How are hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) tracked?

HAI prevalence is one of the clinical quality measures tracked by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to improve care quality and patient outcomes. In 2016, more than 3,000 patient deaths resulted from HAIs, resulting in $2 billion of excess medical spending. In addition to increased care costs, HAIs are linked to longer patient stays and higher mortality risks.

Care facilities that report higher-than-average rates of HAIs may face a 1% payment reduction from CMS. In 2015, CMS launched the HAC Reduction Program to reduce preventable complications through financial penalties for the lowest-performing hospitals.

Using data from Definitive Healthcare’s HospitalView product, we’ve created lists of states that had the most hospital-acquired infections in 2022.

U.S. states with the most hospital-acquired infections

Rank State Number of HAI cases
1 CA 8,897
2 NY 6,776
3 TX 6,449
4 FL 5,734
5 PA 5,033
6 OH 4,077
7 IL 3,833
8 NC 3,409
9 MI 3,173
10 GA 3,091
All-state total 50,472

  Fig. 1Data is from Definitive Healthcare’s HospitalView product. Data is accurate as of August 2023.

Which states had the most hospital-acquired infections in 2022?

California had the most hospital-acquired infections last year with 8,897 cases, followed by New York with 6,776 and Texas with 6,449. States with the most HAI cases are also the most populous states in the country, likely because they have a larger patient population at risk for infection.

10 states with the highest observed CAUTI cases

Rank State Cases in ICUs and other wards Patient days in ICUs and other wards
1 CA 1,686 1,796,570
2 NY 1,207 1,287,897
3 PA 1,041 986,523
4 TX 1,004 1,473,311
5 FL 731 1,160,945
6 NC 616 611,582
7 OH 611 800,948
8 IL 610 721,390
9 MA 486 417,160
10 GA 486 608,460
All-state total 8,478 9,864,786

Fig. 2Data is from Definitive Healthcare’s HospitalView product. Data is accurate as of August 2023.

What is CAUTI?

Prolonged use of a catheter can lead to the development of a catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI). This is caused by bacteria entering the catheter and reaching the urinary tract. Between 15 and 25% of hospitalized patients receive a catheter during their hospital stays, and roughly 75% of UTIs contracted in hospitals are associated with catheterization. CAUTI prevention is reliant on antimicrobial stewardship and correct catheter use.

Much like other infections, CAUTIs correlate with an increased risk of comorbidities, higher care costs, and longer patient stays.

Which states had the most CAUTI cases in 2022?

Last year, California had 1,686 CAUTI cases in ICUs and other wards, giving it the top spot. Following California comes New York with 1,207 cases, and Pennsylvania with 1,041.

Interestingly, Texas has the second-highest number of patient days in ICUs and other wards despite ranking fourth in overall cases. Similarly, while Pennsylvania takes the third spot for the number of CAUTI cases, it comes in fifth for the number of patient days in hospital.

10 states with the highest observed SSI: Hysterectomy cases

Rank State Cases Number of procedures
1 TX 209 26,714
2 FL 137 19,246
3 GA 123 11,811
4 CA 118 18,908
5 PA 81 8,133
6 NY 77 11,324
7 OH 75 9,088
8 MI 71 6,948
9 IL 70 9,617
10 NC 65 8,139
All-state total 1,026 129,928

Fig. 3Data is from Definitive Healthcare’s HospitalView product. Data is accurate as of August 2023.

What is SSI?

A surgical site infection (SSI) is an infection that occurs in the area where a procedure took place. Approximately 2% of hysterectomy patients are impacted by an SSI every year. Surgical site infection prevention includes specific wound closure techniques, like avoiding local hair removal, using antimicrobial suture materials, and more. Causes of surgical site infections include exogenous infection and endogenous infection.

Which states had the most SSI: Hysterectomy cases in 2022?

The state with the most SSI: Hysterectomy cases last year was Texas, with 209. Following Texas is Florida with 137 and Georgia with 123. Despite coming in fourth place, California actually has the smallest ratio of cases to total procedures, with only one in every 160 hysterectomy procedures resulting in an SSI.

10 states with the highest observed SSI: Colon cases

Rank State Cases
1 CA 725
2 TX 581
3 FL 491
4 NY 380
5 OH 368
6 PA 350
7 MI 330
8 NC 298
9 IL 257
10 GA 226
All-state total 4006

Fig. 4 Data is from Definitive Healthcare’s Hospitals & IDN database. Data is accurate as of August 2023.

Colon SSIs occur when an infection develops in or around the colon during a procedure. Based on the most recent estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 22% of all hospital-acquired infections are SSIs, and 15% of those are associated with colorectal procedures.

Which states had the most SSI: Colon cases in 2022?

While coming in fourth for SSI: Hysterectomy cases, California tops the list of SSI: Colon cases with 725 last year. Following California is Texas with 581 cases and Florida with 491. Interestingly, yet unsurprisingly, these top three states are also the three largest in the country by total population. In addition, while Georgia was in the top three for SSI: Hysterectomy cases, it placed at the bottom for colon cases.

 10 states with the highest observed C. Diff cases

Rank State Cases Patient days
1 CA 3,978 13,921,128
2 NY 3,149 9,930,834
3 TX 2,659 12,046,515
4 FL 2,569 12,464,741
5 PA 2,225 6,893,252
6 OH 1,899 5,968,240
7 IL 1,899 5,921,879
8 MI 1,379 4,747,026
9 MA 1,329 3,528,411
10 GA 1,237 4,901,862
All-state total 22,323 80,323,888

Fig. 5Data is from Definitive Healthcare’s HospitalView product. Data is accurate as of August 2023.

What is C. Diff?

Clostridium difficile (C. Diff) is a bacterium that can cause fever, diarrhea and life-threatening colon inflammation known as colitis. According to the CDC, roughly 500,000 cases of C. Diff are reported every year, and 20% of those patients will contract the illness multiple times. Patients with C. Diff are contagious and are encouraged to prevent the spread of bacteria through hand washing and other enhanced hygienic efforts.

Which states had the most C. Diff cases in 2022?

Like SSI: Colon cases, California has the highest number of C. Diff cases with 3,978. However, New York comes in second this time with 3,149 cases, followed by Texas with 2,569. While New York had the second most cases, its total patient days were significantly smaller than the other top states, indicating that the cases there were treated efficiently and effectively.

10 states with the highest MRSA cases

Rank State Cases Patient days
1 CA 3,978 13,921,128
2 NY 3,149 9,930,834
3 TX 2,659 12,046,515
4 FL 2,569 12,464,741
5 PA 2,225 6,893,252
6 OH 1,899 5,968,240
7 IL 1,899 5,921,879
8 MI 1,379 4,747,026
9 MA 1,329 3,528,411
10 GA 1,237 4,901,862
All-state total 22,323 80,323,888

Fig. 6 Data is from Definitive Healthcare’s HospitalView product. Data is accurate as of August 2023.

What is MRSA?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterial healthcare-acquired infection that can lead to sepsis and death if left untreated. MRSA treatment includes antibiotics; however, the MRSA infection is resistant to some forms of antibiotics, making it difficult to treat. The staph bacteria can cause bloodstream infections, surgical site infections, and pneumonia.

Globally, there is a rise in antibiotic resistance due to new resistance mechanisms that threaten treatments. As the effectiveness of antibiotics decreases, infections become more difficult to treat. Additionally, areas where people can buy antibiotics without a prescription have greater antibiotic resistance.

Though anyone can contract MRSA through skin-to-skin contact, the risk increases for military personnel, athletes, students and those receiving inpatient medical care or undergoing surgical procedures. Healthcare providers should properly sterilize medical equipment between patients to prevent infection.

Which states had the most MRSA cases in 2022?

Like SSI: Colon cases, the top three states with the most MRSA cases were Florida, California, and Texas with 820, 818, and 738 respectively. Other states like New York and Ohio have appeared several times throughout these lists, but Tennessee makes its one and only appearance here, taking the 10th spot with 367 cases.

10 states with the highest CLABSI cases

Rank State Cases Patient days
1 CA 3,978 13,921,128
2 NY 3,149 9,930,834
3 TX 2,659 12,046,515
4 FL 2,569 12,464,741
5 PA 2,225 6,893,252
6 OH 1,899 5,968,240
7 IL 1,899 5,921,879
8 MI 1,379 4,747,026
9 MA 1,329 3,528,411
10 GA 1,237 4,901,862
All-state total 22,323 80,323,888

Fig. 7Data is from Definitive Healthcare’s HospitalView product. Data is accurate as of August 2023.

What is CLABSI?

Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) are linked to thousands of patient deaths every year. A “central line” refers to a venous catheter, or a long-term IV, placed in a jugular, femoral, or subclavian vein. Healthcare providers mostly use central lines for patient rehydration, drug infusions, blood pressure monitoring, and more. CLABSI prevention involves CDC guidelines for providers, with recommendations such as bathing patients in chlorhexidine and replacing dressings regularly.

Which states had the most CLABSI cases in 2022?

Like C. Diff cases, California, Texas, and New York make up the top three, with 1,572, 1,258, and 1,245 cases, respectively. Despite having more overall cases than other infections like C. Diff or MRSA, the total number of patient days for CLABSI is much smaller, indicating that this infection takes less time to treat.

What is the most common hospital-acquired infection?

The most common HAI varies depending on the metric you use.

The most common hospital-acquired infection last year based on the number of cases was Clostridium difficile (C. Diff) with 22,323 cases across the top 10 states. Because C. Diff is often contracted by patients multiple times during their stay, it’s unsurprising that it takes the overall top spot based on cases.

However, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) takes the top spot when ranking by the total patient days with 85,532,301, likely given the difficulties with treatment given the rise of antibiotic resistance MRSA.

Which states had the highest number of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs)?

As shown in the data above, California makes the top ten list for each HAI category. This is likely attributed to the state’s high patient population, as we calculated rankings on volume and not ratio.

Similarly, Texas and Florida appear on all seven lists. Florida’s patient population is especially prone to HAIs and other complications, with people aged 60 or older making up nearly one-fifth of the population.

What role does infection prevention and control play?

The World Health Organization (WHO) states infection prevention and control (IPC) is an evidence-based method to prevent and stop transmittable illnesses. Infection control protects patients and healthcare providers from becoming ill with preventable conditions. IPC is especially relevant to injection safety, hand hygiene, and hospital operations and demands action at all health system levels. There is infection control training for healthcare workers.

Learn more

Healthcare Insights are developed with healthcare commercial intelligence from the Definitive Healthcare platform. Want even more insights? Start a free trial now and get access to the latest healthcare commercial intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers.

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