Glossary

Glossary

Catheter-associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI)

Sometimes a patient needs to have a urinary catheter, which is a tube that drains urine into a bag. It carries a risk of an infection called a catheter-associated urinary tract infection or CAUTI. Hospitals keep a close eye on patients who have these in place. If there is an infection, it is reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Central Line-associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI)

Patients that are very ill or need special medications may have special catheters (tubes) placed into their large veins. Patients that have these may be at risk for an infection, called a central-line associated bloodstream infection or CLABSI. These are serious, and potentially life-threatening, infections that can lead to the use of strong antibiotics and longer hospital stays. Hospitals closely watch patients who have these in place. If there is an infection, it is reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cesarean Section

Cesarean sections (C-sections) are births that involve surgery. C-sections births have more risks than natural births, so a lower C-section rate is better.

C. Diff (Clostridium difficile)

C. diff, or Clostridium difficile, is a type of bacteria that can infect patients who have been given high doses of antibiotics. This bacteria causes severe diarrhea that can have serious consequences. 

Critical Access Hospitals

Critical access hospitals (CAHs) are typically rural hospitals that have 25 beds or fewer. They are certified to receive cost-based reimbursement from Medicare to help ensure people in rural areas have access to the care they need without traveling long distances. The money that CAHs receive helps improve their financial performance and reduce hospital closures.

Early Elective Delivery

Early elective delivery is a measure of how often babies are born before they reach full term without a medical reason for the early birth. It is important for babies to reach full term for the health of both mothers and babies.

Hospital Inpatient Length of Stay

The average length of stay shown varies based on the type of care you need. The average is calculated by taking the total number of all inpatient stays for a certain type of care and dividing that by the total of all patients getting that same care. This means that some people had longer stays and others had shorter stays. This is just the average. Also, keep in mind that patients who are in worse health will usually require longer hospital stays. 

Calculation note: Patients released from the hospital on the same day they were admitted are considered to have stayed in the hospital for one day.

Infection

Depending on their health or why they’re hospitalized, patients can be at risk for infections. Hospitals work hard to avoid infections and to treat them if they occur. When infections do occur, hospitals report them to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This helps hospitals improve. The information in VerifyMICare tells how well the hospital is doing in preventing infections.

Intensive Care Unit

When seriously ill or injured patients are in the hospital, they are cared for by specially trained staff in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Care differs in ICUs because the patients require close observation and monitoring, and they may require special equipment in their room, such as ventilators to help them breathe. 

Mortality

This information shows the rates of death during a hospital stay. Death during a hospital stay does not happen often. Many things about a patient, including their health history and lifestyle, make a difference when it comes to risk of death in the hospital. For that reason, experts say hospital mortality rates are just one indicator of hospital performance. It should not be used as the main measure of the overall quality for a hospital.

MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)

MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a bacterial infection that is very hard to treat. MRSA infections can occur in hospital settings, so a hospital with a lower MRSA infection rate means that the hospital does a good job preventing these infections from happening. 

Other Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a lung infection. There are many causes of pneumonia, such as catching it while on a ventilator or while admitted to the hospital. Most pneumonia data is included in the other infection measures. But “other pneumonia” is used when the cause of the pneumonia is not known.  

Postoperative Pulmonary Embolism

Sometimes after surgery, a patient may develop a blood clot in a vein in their lower body, which is called deep vein thrombosis. In rare cases, this blood clot breaks free from the vein and gets caught in a lung. When this happens, it is called a postoperative pulmonary embolism. These are very serious and may result in death, which is why hospitals must report when it happens.

Note: This measure includes rates of both deep vein thrombosis and postoperative pulmonary embolism at a selected hospital. 

Retained Surgical Item

Rarely, during surgery, a doctor may unintentionally leave an item inside a patient's body, such as gauze. When this happens, the item is called a retained surgical item. This may require the patient to have another surgery to remove the item, which is why hospitals must report when it happens. 

Readmission

During or after a hospital stay, patients sometimes develop complications that cause them to go back to the hospital. These are usually called readmissions. Hospitals, Medicare and others track the rates in which a hospital’s patients are readmitted within 30 days after leaving the hospital.

Surgical-site Infection

Patients who have surgery are at risk to develop an infection. Surgical-site infections are the most common form of infection, even though hospitals have taken steps to reduce the risk. Hospitals must report infection rates for hysterectomies and colon surgeries.