A University of Michigan Health System and the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare Center survey has found that the majority of US hospitals lack prevention practices for catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

According the study, funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, hospitals are working to prevent hospital-acquired infections, but prevention methods for urinary tract infections were regularly used by only a minority of hospitals.

The survey says that 90% of US hospitals increased the control measures to combat central line-associated bloodstream infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia between 2005 and 2009, but only a few were working to prevent urinary tract infections.

Cleansing the site of insertion, using reminders for the removal of catheters and avoiding indwelling devices by using alternatives are methods by which hospitals can reduce infection risk.

The earlier urinary catheter is removed out of the patient, the lower the risk of infection.

VA/UM Patient Safety Enhancement Program director Sanjay Saint said that hospitals do not appear to be using as many practices to prevent of urinary infections compared with bloodstream infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia.

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Medicare stopped paying non-federal hospitals for the additional costs of treating infections that are considered preventable with the right care in 2008.

Lead author of the study and VA research scientist Sarah Krein added, "The actual impact of the no-payment rule appears limited given the fact that hospitals not affected by the rule change, such as VA hospitals, also increased their use of infection practices."