Consumers will soon have ready access to state records disclosing the infection rates of Missouri hospitals.

State officials say hospital infection rate records, dating back to 2005, will be posted on the Department of Health’s Web site soon. State Health Director Margaret Donnelly says the officials who told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that it had become too costly to keep the records available online and that they were too sensitive for public review misspoke.

Donnelly says budget cuts have prevented the department from buying a new computer system.

“What we are able to do that is not cost prohibitive is to reformat the way the data will go back up on the computer and we are able to make it so that consumers will find its accessible on the Web site, looking for prior years,” Donnelly says.

The current system runs by quarters. Once we enter a new quarter the old quarter is dropped from public view.

“What would happen, though, is that we kept the data on the Web site for each 12-month period. And so, what was not on the Web site was the prior year’s history,” Donnelly says, “but we have it in the department.”

And she says it will soon be available to the public so comparisons can be made with prior years.

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

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1:25 MP3]