HAIs less likely to spread in rural hospitals, report finds

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Patients at rural hospitals are less likely to develop a healthcare-associated infection than those admitted to urban hospitals, according to a new federal report. It also found rural hospitals were making big strides in care coordination.

The Department of Health and Human Services analysis, issued Wednesday, compared performance of rural and urban hospitals in value-based purchasing initiatives for Fiscal Year 2015. The programs studied in the report include the Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program, as well as the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program.

Rural hospitals outperformed urban ones in the HACRP, with 14% of rural facilities penalized for hospital-acquired conditions and infections such as surgical site and catheter-associated urinary tract infections, compared to 26% of urban providers.

Officials discovered rural providers are excelling in care coordination efforts, which is thanks in part to the small network of referral hospitals and post-acute care providers that “can encourage collaboration across care types and settings,” the report said.

Urban hospitals beat out their rural counterparts, however, with readmission rates, with 76% of urban facilities receiving penalties for readmissions. Seventy-nine percent of rural hospitals were penalized for their readmissions.

Click here to see the full report, released by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.