The average bill for patients that contracted an infection during their hospital care in Pennsylvania was nearly five-and-a-half times the bill for those who did not get in infection, a study being released today found.

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council's examination of so-called hospital-acquired infections found 27,949 patients got infections during their care in 2007.

That was a drop of nearly 8 percent, from 19.2 per 1,000 patients in 2006 to 17.7 per 1,000 patients in 2007.

However, patients that got hospital-acquired infections were six times more likely to die, according to the independent state agency's report.

The rates at individual hospitals varied widely for many reasons, such as how well the hospitals track the problem, the kinds of patients treated, and infection control practices.

The report detailed infection rates at each of the state's 165 general hospital.

Pennsylvania was the first state to require hospitals to publicly disclose infection rates and the first to detail data on individual hospitals. The full is available on the independent state agency's Web site - www.phc4.org.

Contact staff writer Josh Goldstein at 215-854-4733 or jgoldstein@phillynews.com.