Federal officials say the nation's hospitals are failing to stamp out common infections that can turn life-threatening for patients.
The Health and Human Services department's 2009 quality report, released Tuesday, finds "very little progress" on eliminating health care infections. For example, rates of bloodstream infections following surgery increased by 8 percent. Infections from urinary catheters rose by 3.6 percent.
Soon, such medical missteps will have financial consequences. The new health care overhaul law will impose penalties on hospitals for preventable readmissions and certain infections that can usually be staved off with good nursing care.