31 Teaching Hospitals Higher Risk for Central-Line Infections: Consumer Reports

Megan Brooks

November 21, 2016

Many top US teaching hospitals could do a better job of preventing central-line bloodstream infections, according to an analysis by Consumer Reports.

"Because teaching hospitals are teaching our next generation of physicians, we think it's critical to monitor them closely. Our review of their performance on controlling central-line infections is very sobering," Doris Peter, PhD, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, said in a news release.

"Central-line infections are highly preventable, and there are no excuses for poor performance on this metric. It's unfortunate to see so many well-known hospitals, some who tout their top rankings and awards, sitting on the sidelines of one of the biggest triumphs in patient safety," Dr Peter said.

Consumer Reports looked at the 5-year track record of US teaching hospitals to see which have successfully reduced these infections and which have not. The findings are described in an article published online November 21 in Consumer Reports.

Progress Is Slowing

Hospital-acquired infections are the eighth leading cause of death. Central-line infections make up about 5% of all hospital infections but are considered a "critical subset" because they are fatal in as many as a quarter of cases, are costly to treat, and are almost entirely preventable by strictly following the gold-standard Pronovost principles – a safety checklist developed some 15 years ago to prevent central-line infections by Peter Provonost, MD, senior vice president for patient safety and quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Research has shown that when staff working in intensive care units (ICUs) adhere to the principles, central-line infections can be dramatically reduced or eliminated.

Although rates of other hospital infections have held steady or have declined slightly in recent years, rates of central-line infections dropped by 50% between 2008 and 2014, Consumer Reports notes.

Their analysis found improvement all around the country in large urban hospitals as well as smaller suburban and rural ones, but more work needs to be done, Dr Peter said. "Hospitals are moving in the right direction, but progress is slowing, and too many hospitals have not adequately addressed the problem over the past 5 years," she said.

According to Consumer Reports, more than 75% of hospitals in Kansas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin met the national target for central-line infections in 2015, compared with only a third of Louisiana hospitals. Eighty-nine percent of hospitals in Hawaii met the target, the highest in the United States.

"In the fight against central-line infections, OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, in Columbus, stands out by having close to zero infections each year between 2011 and 2015. SUNY Downstate Medical Center University Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, and the University Medical Center of El Paso, Texas, on the other hand, are trending in the wrong direction, showing rising central-line infection rates in recent years," the report notes.

Below is Consumer Reports' list of the 32 top-performing teaching hospitals and the 31 lowest-performing teaching hospitals with respect to preventing central-line infections in ICUs for the 5-year period 2011 to 2015.


Highest-Scoring Teaching Hospitals (listed in alphabetical order)

Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Ill

Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, Milwaukee, Wis

Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pa

HonorHealth Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center, Scottsdale, Ariz

Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, NY

Maimonides Medical Center, New York, NY

Medical Center Health System, Odessa, Texas

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, Baltimore, Md

Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, Pawtucket, RI

Methodist Healthcare Memphis Hospitals, Memphis, Tenn

Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, Mass

Mount Sinai St. Luke’s – Roosevelt, New York, NY

North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, NY

Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans, LA

OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio

OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

Saint Barnabas Medical Center, Livingston, NJ

San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, San Francisco, Calif

Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Norfolk, Va

St. Joseph Mercy, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Mich

St. Luke's University Hospital – Bethlehem Campus, Bethlehem, PA

Staten Island University Hospital, New York, NY

University of Toledo Medical Center, Toledo, Ohio

UC Irvine Medical Center, Orange, Calif

UMass Memorial Medical Center, Worcester, Mass

University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, Ill

University of Missouri Hospitals and Clinics, Columbia, Mo

University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville, Tenn

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas

University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, Wash

Upstate University Hospital, Syracuse, NY

West Virginia University Hospitals, Morgantown, WV

Lowest-Scoring Teaching Hospitals (listed in alphabetical order)

Atlanta Medical Center, Atlanta, Ga

Banner- University Medical Center, Tucson, Ariz

Brooklyn Hospital Center, New York, NY

Community Regional Medical Center, Fresno, Calif

Cooper University Health Care, Camden, NJ

Dartmouth – Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH

Emory University Hospital Midtown, Atlanta, Ga

Eskenazi Health, Indianapolis, Ind

George Washington University Hospital, Washington, DC

Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta, Ga

Holy Cross Hospital, Silver Spring, Md

Howard University Hospital, Washington, DC

Hurley Medical Center, Flint, Mich

Indiana University Health University Hospital, Indianapolis, Ind

Interim LSU Public Hospital, New Orleans, La

Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Long Beach, Calif

MacNeal Hospital, Berwyn, Ill

Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine

Maricopa Integrated Health System, Phoenix, Ariz

Nebraska Medicine - Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Neb

Palmetto Health Richland, Columbia, SC

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, NJ

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, Calif

SUNY Downstate Medical Center University Hospital, New York, NY

Truman Medical Center - Hospital Hill, Kansas City, Mo

Tulane Medical Center, New Orleans, La

UC San Diego Health, San Diego, Calif

UF Health Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Fla

University Hospital, Newark, NJ

University Medical Center of El Paso, El Paso, Texas

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa


The Consumer Reports article and ratings, as well as an interactive look-up tool that shows hospitals in different areas along with their 5-year track record, are available on the Consumer Reports website.

Consumer Reports. Published online November 21, 2016.

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