The University of Michigan and Henry Ford health systems are among nine local hospitals that got poor ratings in a new report that looks at hospital-acquired infections among patients, with UM scoring among the worst.

The report, released Wednesday by Consumer Reports, is a new benchmark in the magazine’s rating of 3,000 hospitals across the nation. It is part of an overall safety score

The magazine staff analyzed data that hospitals report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on five different hospital-acquired infections including two of the most common and deadly, MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) and C. diff (clostridium difficile).

The bottom line: Some hospitals do a better job than others at avoiding infections, which 648,000 patients develop every year while in a hospital, and claim the lives of 75,000.

“Hospitals are directly responsible for many of these infections and should be able to prevent them,” said Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumer Reports’ Safe Patient Project. “While sick patients should not be expected to have to advocate for safe treatment, speaking up can help to protect them from superbug infections.”

Besides UM and Henry Ford health systems, the other largest Detroit hospitals with the lowest ratings for avoiding infections overall are Detroit Medical Center’s Harper University Hospital, Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn, St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit and St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac.

Outside the metropolitan region, the hospitals that also ranked poorly on acquired infections among patients include Gensys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc, Hurley Medical Center in Flint and St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ypsilanti.


Many infections are linked to the use of antibiotics, according to the report, and some hospitals are working to reduce infections and inappropriate antibiotic use.

“But more can be done and some hospitals need to do more,” said Doris Peter, director of Consumer Reports’ Health Rating Center. “Hopefully over time we will start to see those column (improve) as hospitals see this as a problem.”

Among the 14 largest hospitals with 400 or more beds in the Detroit area, UM ranked among the worst in five of the six categories that measured avoiding infections such as MRSA, catheter-urinary tract and surgical site. The only measure where it was above average was avoiding central line infections.

“We are not yet where we’d like to be, but we are making significant strides in reducing our infection rates and will continue to do so, ” spokeswoman Mary Masson said.

She pointed to UM’s quality and safety website,

Meanwhile, Henry Ford ranked all over the board in some measures — average in avoiding MRSA and C. diff, among the worst in catheter urinary tract and surgical site infections but above average in avoiding central line infections.

“The safety of our patients is our top priority and we have in place initiatives aimed at reducing infections,” said Dave Olejarz, spokesman for Henry Ford. “This includes a new electronic medical record and analytics tools that enable us to review data and prevent and/or identify infections in real-time. Also, process improvement teams are tasked with examining opportunities for redesigning care using best-evidence measures to reduce infections. The initiatives we have in place are already producing positive results, and combined with our longstanding commitment to ensuring a culture of safety, we expect the trend to continue.”

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