The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) award for infection research and development is timely. The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council released data for 2009 on the rate of hospital-acquired infections on February 25, 2011.

The findings indicate that of those Pennsylvanians who acquired an infection in a hospital in 2009, 29.8 percent were readmitted within 30 days for an infection or complication. In contrast, only 6.2 percent of those who did not contract an infection during their hospital stay had to be readmitted because of an infection.

Additionally, the cost in terms of mortality is staggering. Of patients who acquired an infection, the mortality rate was 9.4 percent. For those who had not acquired an infection the mortality rate was 1.8 percent.

The financial impact is significant. Of Medicare patients age 65 years and up who acquired an infection in the hospital and had to be re-admitted, the readmission cost was over $24.6 million. 

In terms of the source, surgical site infections were number one, followed by urinary tract infections and third by gastrointestinal infections.