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null Hospital admissions for sepsis in Finger Lakes region is higher than upstate NY average

Hospital admissions for sepsis in Finger Lakes region is higher than upstate NY average

For Immediate Release:  2018-09-18

Contact:  Jim Redmond, (585) 238-4579 /

The Finger Lakes Region’s hospital admission rate for adults with sepsis is slightly higher than the upstate New York average according to an Excellus BlueCross BlueShield analysis of 2017 claims data.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines sepsis as the body’s extreme response to an infection. Without timely treatment, it can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death. 

Rate of sepsis admissions per 1,000 adults (2017)

  • Western New York – 7.39
  • Finger Lakes Region – 5.65
  • Utica/Rome/North Country – 4.00
  • Southern Tier – 3.70
  • Central New York – 3.59
  • Upstate New York – 4.68

Sepsis occurs when an infection in a person triggers a serious inflammatory response throughout the body. The inflammation can rapidly spread and damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail. Leading causes of sepsis include such common infections as cellulitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and diverticulitis. 

According to the Sepsis Alliance, there are 1.7 million cases of sepsis and 270,000 deaths each year in the United States. The sepsis death toll exceeds annual deaths in the U.S. from breast cancer, prostate cancer and AIDS combined.

“Increased awareness and tracking of sepsis may account for the regional differences,” said Gregory Carnevale, MD, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield chief medical officer for value based payments.

Hospitals in the Finger Lakes Region had nearly 4,800 adults ages 18 and older admitted for sepsis in 2017. In half of the cases, the length of stay lasted from four to nine days. Twenty percent of the cases required treatment in an intensive care unit. 

“It is vital that we identify and treat sepsis during its early stage,” said Carnevale. “Early treatment with antibiotics and large amounts of intravenous fluids improves chances for survival.”

Last year in upstate New York, there were about 800 reported hospital admissions for sepsis that occurred within 30 days of a medical/surgical admission. Carnevale advises monitoring people who are recovering from a medical procedure or surgery. The CDC lists any combination of the following as symptoms of sepsis:

  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Shortness of breath
  • High heart rate
  • Fever, or shivering, or feeling very cold
  • Extreme pain or discomfort
  • Clammy or sweaty skin

“Act fast and get medical care immediately if you suspect sepsis or have an infection that’s not getting better or is getting worse,” said Carnevale. 

An Excellus BlueCross BlueShield infographic about the warning signs of sepsis is available hereOpen a PDF.

To learn more about sepsis and how to prevent infections, visit

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company's mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit