Penn Highlands Clearfield’s Healthcare-Acquired Infection Rate Among the Lowest in the State

July 11, 2014


Penn Highlands Clearfield was extremely pleased with a recently released state Department of Health report verifying that a low number of infections occurred related to the care provided at the hospital.

The state Department of Health’s 2012 Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Report shows that Pennsylvania hospitals have made significant progress in reducing these medical complications while reducing healthcare costs that would have been associated with infections.

Healthcare-associated infections are infections that patients develop during the course of receiving healthcare treatment for other conditions while in the hospital. One of the most common fears patients have about coming to the hospital is developing an infection. Penn Highland Clearfield’s effort to eliminate hospital-associated infection aligns with its commitment to minimize fear and enhance the patient experience.

According to Catherine Civiello, PhD, director of performance improvement, Penn Highlands Clearfield continues to demonstrate an overall lower rate of healthcare-associated infection than is the average for Pennsylvania hospitals. 

During the study year of the report, Penn Highlands Clearfield patients experienced no healthcare-associated infections in these categories: bone and joint; central nervous system; cardiovascular system; eye, ear, nose and throat; gastrointestinal; lower respiratory tract; pneumonia (whether ventilator or non-ventilator associated); reproductive tract; and skin and soft tissue.

In addition, the hospital’s catheter-associated urinary tract and surgical site infection rates were lower than the state average. 

Civiello credited the hospital’s performance improvement team, physicians, nurses and support staff for their emphasis on performance improvement. 

 “High quality care is the top priority for us, and even one healthcare-associated infection is one too many. We are proud of the progress we’ve made and will continue to build on our success in order to provide a superior standard of care for our patients,” she said.   

Civiello pointed out that there was one area in which Penn Highlands Clearfield needed to improve its outcome, and that involved central line blood stream infection. The performance improvement team had recognized this deficiency prior to the study and worked with staff to implement corrective measures. Their efforts resulted in the elimination of this type of healthcare-associated infection in 2013 and thus far in 2014.

“Quality, safety and process efficiency are more important than ever in health care. Penn Highlands Clearfield is well positioned for success in each of these areas. I commend our physicians, nurses and staff for their commitment to advancing quality of care and patient safety,” stated Gary Macioce, president of Penn Highlands Clearfield.

Two other hospitals in the Penn Highlands Healthcare system, Penn Highlands Elk and Penn Highlands DuBois, also fared well in the report. The fourth hospital, Penn Highlands Brookville, was not included in the study due to its designation as a critical access hospital, but also has low healthcare-associated infection rates.

To review: 2012 Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Healthcare-Associated Infection Report