HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Monday, March 7, 2005

Infection Rates

As we are all well-aware, hospitals have a problem with infection rates.  Fortunately, a dialog has been started to help hospitals talk more openly about some of their problems and potential solutions.  An article by Jennifer Gordon of Business First of Louisville reports that Consumers Union, the publishers of Consumer Reports, has begun a nationwide effort to require hospitals to report infection rates to the public.   Consumers Union has created a website to help spread the word about its efforts  So far, four states have enacted law requiring such reporting, and another 28 states have bills pending in the legislature.   The article further reports on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's efforts in this arena as well.  It states,

On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) released recommendations for policymakers about how to track hospital-acquired infection rates. The recommendations call for policymakers to:

    • use established public health surveillance methods when designing reporting systems;
    • create a multidisciplinary advisory panel to monitor the development of the reporting system;
    • phase in measures to allow time for facilities to adapt;
    • provide confidential feedback to health care providers.

"The goal of mandatory reporting is to provide consumers with information they can use to make informed health care choices," Dr. Denise Cardo, director of CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, said in a news release. "We don't know yet if public reporting will reduce the number of infections, but we do support collecting information that can lead to improvements in patient safety."

The article continues with an overview of some of the benefits seen from reporting requirements while also examining some of the concerns various hospital administrators have concerning this reporting project.  Thanks for Jim Tomaszewski for this article.  [bm]

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