State officials say retaining the records became too costly. Consumer advocates say it will prevent consumers from adequately evaluating how well hospitals prevent infections.

State health officials have deleted hospital infection rates from 2005 to 2008, claiming the records cost too much to maintain and are too sensitive for the public to review for more than a year.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that infections associated with health care kill nearly 100,000 people in the United States each year and cost the health system up to $45 billion.