Pneumonia is caused by a viral or bacterial infection that fills your lungs with mucus. This lowers the oxygen level in your blood. Community acquired pneumonia is a major contributor to illness and mortality in the United States, causing 4 million episodes of illness and nearly one million hospital admissions each year. Symptoms of pneumonia can include the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • "Wet" cough. Your mucus may look green or bloody.
  • Chest pain
  • Fever and chills
  • Fatigue

View our pneumonia report card.

For more information about lung health, check:

Key Indicators
Scientific evidence indicates that the following measures represent the best practices for the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia. Higher scores are better.

  • Oxygenation Assessment
    Pneumonia can lower the oxygen in your blood because the air spaces in your lungs fill with mucus. The oxygen you breathe does not get into your bloodstream. It is important that the amount of oxygen in your blood be measured within 24 hours of arriving at the hospital to see if you need oxygen therapy.
  • Initial Antibiotic Timing
    Early treatment with antibiotics can cure bacterial pneumonia and reduce the possibility of complications. This information shows the percent of patients who were given their first dose of antibiotics within 4 hours of arrival at the hospital.
  • Pneumococcal Vaccination Status
    The pneumococcal vaccine can help prevent, or lower the risk of complications of pneumonia caused by bacteria. It can also help prevent future infections. Patients with pneumonia should be asked if they have been vaccinated recently for pneumonia and, if not, should be given the vaccine.
  • Influenza Vaccination Status
    Flu shots reduce the risk of influenza, a serious and sometimes deadly lung infection that can spread quickly in a community or facility. Hospitals should check to make sure that pneumonia patients, particularly those who are age 50 or older, get a flu shot during flu season to protect them from another lung infection and to help prevent the spread of influenza.
  • Blood Cultures Performed in the Emergency Department Prior to Initial Antibiotic Received in Hospital
    Different types of bacteria can cause pneumonia. A blood culture is a test that can help your doctor identify which bacteria may have caused your pneumonia, and which antibiotic should be prescribed. A blood culture is not always needed, but for patients who are first seen in the hospital emergency department, it is important for the accuracy of the test that blood culture be conducted before any antibiotics are started. It is also important to start antibiotics as soon as possible.
  • Appropriate Initial Antibiotic Selection
    Pneumonia is a lung infection that is usually caused by bacteria or a virus. If pneumonia is caused by bacteria, hospitals will treat the infection with antibiotics. Different bacteria are treated with different antibiotics.
  • Smoking Cessation Advice/Counseling
    Smoking damages your lungs and can make it hard to breath. Smoking increases your chances of getting pneumonia or other chronic lung diseases like emphysema and bronchitis. Smoking is also linked to lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke, and can cause premature death. It is important for you to get information to help you quit smoking before you leave the hospital. Quitting may reduce your chance of getting pneumonia again.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Hospital Compare

Additional Resources
To obtain more quality information regarding Pneumonia, please visit the websites:The Joint Commission and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Hospital Compare.