Press Releases

TN Hospitals Doing Well Fighting Surgical Site, Bloodstream Infections

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Health; June 26, 2012: 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Health’s semi-annual report on healthcare associated infections released this week has good news for Tennessee hospitals and their patients. Surgical site and bloodstream infection rates are below the national baseline, providing evidence of progress made by hospitals to keep patients healthy.

“Healthcare associated infections have been among the top ten leading causes of death in the U.S. in the last decade and are a major public health concern” said TDH Commissioner John J. Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “As a physician, I appreciate the level of commitment from hospitals to continually improve processes and procedures to ensure patients don’t acquire or spread infections in a healthcare setting. I’m proud of what is happening in Tennessee and eager to see additional progress through our work with the Tennessee Hospital Association, the Tennessee Center for Patient Safety and other groups and organizations.”

The Tennessee Report on Healthcare-Associated Infections: January 1, 2008 — June 30, 2011, is the fifth review published by TDH since 2010. It presents standardized infection ratios for central line-associated bloodstream infections in intensive care units, long term acute care hospitals and specialty care areas, and for surgical site infections following coronary artery bypass graft and hip prosthesis procedures.

Data are collected using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Healthcare Surveillance Network case definitions. This is the first time hip prosthesis data has been reported publicly by TDH. Additionally, this is the first time TDH has used the SIR, which uses more sophisticated risk-adjustment methods than rates to monitor surgical site infections.

According to Marion Kainer, MD, MPH, director of the TDH Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance Program, the recent report points out some impressive aggregate data about what is happening in Tennessee hospitals.

“The report shows infection ratios as much as 48 percent lower than the national baseline in some areas,” Kainer said. “We know the report is an important tool for us to identify what is working well and where we need to improve, and it gives us a perspective of how Tennessee hospitals compare with others across the nation.”

The full Tennessee Report on Healthcare-Associated Infections: January 1, 2008 — June 30, 2011 is available online at

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. For more information about TDH services and programs, visit

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