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Howard County General Initiatives Successful in Preventing Bloodstream Infections

Contact: Sharon Sopp, 410.740.7646,

Columbia, MD – Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine (HCGH) posted positive results in a recent report from the Maryland Health Care Commission that rated the success of the state’s hospitals in preventing central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI).

A leading cause of healthcare-associated infections in acute care hospitals, CLABSIs are often linked to a central line or central vascular catheter—a long, thin tube inserted into a large vein and used to provide medicine, fluid, nutrients, or blood over an extended period of time to the sickest patients.

The hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) has not experienced a CLABSI infection since January 3, 2009, due in large part to the application of strategies developed by researchers at HCGH’s parent organization, Johns Hopkins Medicine; in particular, those of Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally acclaimed leader in patient safety. Using evidence-based practices developed by Pronovost and his Hopkins colleagues, the HCGH ICU team began using pre-sorted bundles of equipment and supplies, including sterile materials for both the patient and care giver, as well as a check list which helps ensure staff maintain appropriate hand hygiene and follow the proper sterile technique. The success of the ICU program led to its expansion hospital wide in January 2010 to include all patients with central lines.

“Our top priorities at HCGH are quality care and patient safety, which includes preventing infections. We are fortunate to be part of Johns Hopkins Medicine, a world-renowned medical research organization, which allows us to bring the benefits of significant research back to our community,” said Victor A. Broccolino, president and CEO, Howard County General.

“Every day our care givers fight a battle against an invisible enemy – germs – which are constantly evolving and developing a resistance to antibiotics,” said Eric Aldrich, M.D. Ph.D, Vice President for Medical Affairs. “The best way to avoid the problems of antibiotic resistance is to prevent the infection in the first place. By implementing practices developed by the experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine, our staff put into practice the most advanced patient safety initiatives to protect our patients.”

HCGH participates in the national On the CUSP: Stop BSI initiative, which aims to eliminate catheter-related blood stream infections and their associated costs.

Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine since 1998 is a 238-bed, not-for-profit health care provider located in Columbia, Maryland. A comprehensive, acute-care medical center, Howard County General offers a full range of services, from neonatal care and oncology to outpatient treatment and critical care. In 2010, the hospital received the HealthGrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™, ranking it among the top five percent of hospitals in the nation for the second consecutive year.

The hospital has a professional staff of over 800 physicians and allied health professionals, representing more than 70 specialties and subspecialties; a workforce of nearly 2,000 individuals and volunteer auxilians numbering over 600.