1. Health

High rate of MRSA infections reported at Bayfront Health Brooksville

According to new federal data, Bayfront Health Brooksville was one of six Florida hospitals rated "worse than the national benchmark" for cases of MRSA, a contagious bacterial infection that is resistant to common antibiotics and can be difficult to treat. [Times files]
According to new federal data, Bayfront Health Brooksville was one of six Florida hospitals rated "worse than the national benchmark" for cases of MRSA, a contagious bacterial infection that is resistant to common antibiotics and can be difficult to treat. [Times files]
Published Jun. 5, 2018

Bayfront Health Brooksville and Bayfront Health Spring Hill are among a handful of Florida hospitals that saw a sharp rise in the number of MRSA infections, which can be deadly to patients if not treated, according to federal officials.

The trend is one of the takeaways from a body of new data compiled by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which studied a number of conditions patients often develop before and after surgery or during other hospitalized treatment.

OTHER HEALTH NEWS: All her life, everyday foods threatened her health. Then came a new drug, tested at USF.

Among those conditions are adverse drug events, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, bloodstream infections, pressure injuries and surgical site infections. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has been tracking the data since 2014 with the aim of prodding hospitals to improve their practices. The goal is a 20 percent reduction in the rate of such conditions by 2019.

According to the new data, Bayfront Health Brooksville was no different than the national benchmark for most hospital-acquired conditions — except when it came to MRSA, a contagious bacterial infection that is resistant to common antibiotics and can be difficult to treat. The Hernando County hospital rated "worse than the national benchmark" for a spike in the number of cases.

The data also includes infections reported at Bayfront Health's other Hernando hospital in Spring Hill, according to Jennifer Siem, a Bayfront Health spokeswoman.

She said the numbers have improved since the information was collected from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. From then through March 31, she said, MRSA infections are down 60 percent at the two hospitals.

"MRSA is prevalent in communities across America, and patients are often "carriers" of the bacteria without being aware," Siem said. "The rise in prevalence in our country has been attributed to decades of antibiotic use, in which staphylococcus aureus has become resistant and more difficult to treat."

She added: "Our hospital works to identify patients who have an active infection or may be a 'carrier' at the time of admission, so that proper precautions can be put into place and prevent further spread of the bacteria."

Six other Florida hospitals fell below the national benchmark for MRSA. Among them were UF Health Jacksonville, Bay Medical Center in Panama City, Steward Hospital in Rockledge, Health Central in Ocoee and Parrish Medical Center in Titusville. Jackson Health Complex, which operates three facilities in the Miami area, reported more cases of MRSA than any other hospital in the nation, the Miami Herald reported.

ALSO READ: Music makes us happy, motivated, determined … and hungry?

CMS used data on infection rates from more than 4,500 hospitals in the country. In Florida, 186 hospitals reported their findings collected from July 2016 to June 2017.

MRSA infections have been on the rise in Florida for the last few years. In 2015, acute care hospitals in the state reported 194 cases of MRSA, according to the latest available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of infections that year was slightly higher than the national average.

Out of 144 Florida hospitals examined by the CDC, 12 percent had higher rates of infection than the national average and only 2 percent had lower rates.

The two Bayfront Health hospitals in Hernando are among six hospitals along Florida's Gulf Coast owned by Community Health Systems, one of the nation's largest owners and operators of hospitals, with 137 of them in 21 states. The company has struggled financially in recent years, posting heavy net losses quarter after quarter and has sold dozens of under-performing hospitals from its portfolio. That includes the recent sale of its Dade City hospital to Adventist Health Systems, owner of the Florida Hospital chain.

Contact Justine Griffin at or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.


  1. Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has invested $3 million in Bridge Connector, a Nashville-based medical technology company.
    Bridge Connector already had ties to Tampa. Its founder graduated from the University of South Florida.
  2. Florida's Baker Act was written in 1971 by Maxine Baker, a 65-year-old grandmother and a freshman Florida legislator from Miami-Dade County, seen here in a 1965 photo. [Associated Press]
    The law was written in 1971 by Maxine Baker, a legislator from Miami-Dade County who pushed for the rights of people with mental illness.
  3. Sarah Henderson with her son, Braden, who was committed under the Baker Act after a joking remark at school. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    A cop car comes. A child is handcuffed and taken to a mental health facility. The scene is all too frequent at public schools across the state.
  4. Congressional aides maneuver a Christmas tree to the office of Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, on Capitol Hill earlier this month. No word on whether they washed it first, but experts say hosing down a live tree can be a good way to keep allergens from causing respiratory problems during the holiday season. [J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE  |  AP]
    Hosing off a live tree or wiping off an artificial one are two ways to keep allergens at bay during the holidays.
  5. A helicopter lands at Tampa General Hospital, one of 66 Florida hospitals that could benefit from a proposal contained in Gov. Ron DeSantis' new budget, a new analysis finds. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Tampa General is among the hospitals that would receive money from a proposal seeking to hand out $10 million in new funding.
  6. Work nears completion Wednesday on a common area inside the new USF Health building that will serve as a centerpiece of the Water Street Tampa development in downtown. The 13-story tower is set to open in January. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The long-anticipated building, part of Water Street Tampa, will welcome students on Jan. 13.
  7. One way to research options is through Medicare's online Plan Finder, available at [THOMAS TOBIN  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    For those who haven’t reviewed coverage for 2020, there is still time.
  8. North Tampa Behavioral Health in Wesley Chapel [JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |  Times]
    Regulators also found widespread problems with patient care after a Tampa Bay Times investigation into the facility
  9. Lorraine Bonner, a retired Oakland, Calif., doctor who is now a sculptor, says she spent a year recovering after surgical staples were used to seal her colon. A newly uncovered federal database reveals previously hidden problems with the staples that were used in her operation. [HEIDI DE MARCO  |  California Healthline]
    Millions of injuries and malfunctions once funneled to a hidden government database are now available, prompting many to take a closer look.
  10. Employees are paying more for health insurance. [MICHAEL MCCLOSKEY  |  iStockPhoto]
    Employees in only two other states paid more relative to their household income.