Midway through a three-year initiative to reduce hospital-acquired infections at 160 California hospitals, officials said cases of ventilator-associated pneumonia were down 41% and cases of blood poisoning had fallen by 11%. The program has saved an estimated 800 lives as well as $11 million in health care costs. Hospital leaders said the success was the result of steps that were simple but also easy to overlook: following basic staff and patient hygiene protocols, eliminating unnecessary procedures and using safety checklists.

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