By Alfonso Torress-Cook, Dr.P.H. FRSPH, Director of Epidemiology Beverly Hospital Montebello, California

Over the last few years, Beverly Hospital (BH) has achieved an astounding record in its fight against several deadly hospital-acquired infections and superbugs. Beverly Hospital has completely eliminated cases of Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI), Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP), and Clostridium difficile (C.diff). Additionally, the hospital has the lowest incidence of the devastating Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in California. We have drastically reduced Surgical Site Infections and central line-associated bloodstream infections.

The excellent results can be attributed to the hospital’s Lean practices. Lean management principles have been used in manufacturing companies for decades, originating in Japan and particularly used by Toyota. Lean has been successfully applied to improve the quality of healthcare in the United States. Strict quality control, innovative disinfectant measures, basic environmental and patient cleanliness methods, and a zero tolerance policy to hospital-acquired infections also played key roles. The most important factor, however, has been our staff’s hard work, professionalism, and dedication to patient safety.

To underline the importance of this effort, morbidity related to hospital-acquired infections exceeds deaths caused by AIDS, breast cancer, and prostate cancer combined. According to a 2009 report by the Centers for Disease Control, medical costs to U.S. hospitals dealing with hospital-acquired infections could reach up to $33.8 billion. Though the financial impact of these hospital related infections is enormous, the human cost of this preventable loss of life is immeasurable.

Our commitment to reduce patient harm across the board is led by Dr. Alfonso Torress-Cook, Director of Infection Control, Dr. Cohen, Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Leo Li, Chairperson of the Infection Control Committee. According to Dr. Torress-Cook, you are 95% less likely to catch dangerous antibiotic resistant bacteria like MRSA at Beverly Hospital. In the United States, MRSA was associated with 8% of hospital-acquired infections as reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Healthcare Safety Network from January 2017 to October 2018.

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