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The topic of central line bloodstream infection (CLBSI) is interesting to review because of its inclusion as one of the so-called “pay-for-performance” indicators and there is a large amount of research to look at. I want to focus on one aspect of the issue, which is the difference between information obtained from an administrative database and what is clinical valid.

Published ahead of print in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons is an article from the data mines of the Veterans Administration showing that some 63 percent of CLBSIs seen at VA hospitals over a 5 year period were actually coded incorrectly. They were falsely positive; the patients did not have CLBSIs.

You might wonder, “How can this be?”

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