Midway through a three-year initiative to reduce hospital-acquired infections at 160 California hospitals, officials say ventilator-associated pneumonia cases are down 41%, catheter-related urinary tract infections fell 24% last year and blood poisoning dropped 11%, saving $11 million overall. Some 800 lives have been saved because of the program, and hospital leaders say the strategy for success is simply adhering to basic staff and patient hygiene protocols, eliminating unnecessary procedures, using safety checklists, and documenting each step.

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