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CMS Rule: Shining the spotlight on hospital acquired infections – Part 5

Categories: Clostridium difficile, Healthcare-associated infections, MRSA

Lisa McGiffert

Lisa McGiffert

Guest Author — Lisa McGiffert
Director, Consumer’s Union Safe Patient Project

Is your hospital doing a good job protecting patients from developing infections during treatment? For years, patients have been left in the dark about this important indicator of hospital safety even though these infections are associated with nearly 100,000 deaths annually.

Nancy Oliver, of Cincinnati, Ohio, wished she had known more about her hospital’s infection rates. Nancy’s father was expected to make an excellent recovery following heart surgery but ended up developing a MRSA infection in his surgical site. Later he acquired a C-difficile infection, went into septic shock and died. “We miss my Dad every day,” says Oliver who has become an active patient safety advocate.

Next year, consumers across the country finally will be able to start checking their hospital’s infection prevention track record thanks to new regulations adopted as part of the landmark health care reform law.

The regulations build on the successful efforts of patient safety advocates working with Consumers Union over the past seven years to push states to adopt hospital infection reporting laws. Twenty seven states have done so and 19 have issued reports so far that disclose this critical information to the public.

Consumers can already check the Hospital Compare web site to find out how well hospitals follow procedures proven to reduce surgical site infection risks. But soon the public in all 50 states will be able to see whether their hospital’s prevention efforts are working.

The new regulations will make central line associated bloodstream infection rates in intensive care units, including neonatal intensive care units, available on Hospital Compare next year and surgical site infection rates in 2012. That’s a good start but it should be just the beginning.

Patients have a right to know about other hospital-acquired infection rates, including those caused by MRSA and C.difficile, and urinary tract infections. These additional infections are targeted for improvement by a federal healthcare-associated infection action plan. The public should be able to see if the action plan’s prevention targets for these infections are being met.

Armed with infection rate information, consumers will be able to make more informed decisions about where to go for the care they need. And disclosing this information to the public is a powerful motivator for hospitals to improve care and keep patients safe.

For Nancy Oliver and the countless others who have lost loved ones to hospital-acquired infections, making infection rates public is long overdue.

___________
Lisa McGiffert is the Director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project. Follow the campaign on Twitter @CUSafePatient Consumers Union is the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.

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  1. June 2, 2013 at 4:19 pm ET  -   فناوری اطلاعات فارس » Cameras, sensor tags used to monitor caregivers to prevent infection

    [...] infections cost the industry $30 billion and cause about 100,000 patient deaths a year, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [...]

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  2. June 12, 2011 at 9:23 am ET  -   Sabdra Hughes

    SeVen months ago, my sister-in-law contacted Clostridium Difficile during a long term stay in a hospital, then some time in a nursing home. This was in the Grants Pass, Medford, OR area. Since then she has been on every antibiotic available to her, and at great expense ~ without success. She has suffered greatly and because it is highly contagious, has been house bound. Recently she had a Stool Transplant from a doctor that was a volunteer and it was not successful either. She just got her results a couple of days ago and now her doctor wants her to go back on antibiotics for another 8 weeks, then be tested again. This is not something that she wants to do. ANYONE OUT THERE HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS AS OPTIONS???? NEW TREATMENTS, NEW INFORMATION? NEW STUDIES?

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  3. August 9, 2010 at 7:24 pm ET  -   Carol Gag

    I ABSOLUTELY AGREE WITH THIS. IT IS ABOUT TIME WE ALL DID SOMETHING ABOUT THIS TERRIBLE INJUSTICE WHEN WE HAVE TO BE IN A HOSPITAL SETTING AND END UP DYING OR HAVING TERRIBLE INCURABLE INFECTIONS.
    MY STEP-FATHER HAD THE SAME THING HAPPEN TO HIM AFTER OPEN HEART SURGERY. IT TOOK MONTHS IF NOT A YEAR TO COMPLETLEY HEAL FROM THE WOULD IN HIS LEG WHERE THEY REMOVED A VEIN FOR HIS HEART.
    HE WAS NEVER THE SAME. HE CONTACTED C-DIFF NUMEROUS TIMES. LOST SO MUCH WEIGHT THAT HE WAS ALMOST A SKELTON.
    THEY ENDED UP REMOVING HIS TOES, THEN HIS LEFT LEG. THE LOWER PART. HE WAS TOUGH AND SEEMED TO ADJUST AND WAS FITTED WITH A PROTHESIS AND WAS DOING PRETTY WELL. VERY WEAK HAD ONE THING AFTER ANOTHER HAPPEN TO HIM.

    THEN THE RIGHT TOES STARTED TURNING BLUE AND THEY WERE READY TO REMOVE THEM ALSO. WHAT WOULD BE NEXT ANOTHER LEG. HIS FINGERS, HANDS AND ARMS.
    HIS DAUGHTER MY STEP SISTER SAID* STOP NO MORE*
    . “YOU ARE NOT GOING TO CUT HIM UP IN LITTLE PIECES.”

    HE SUFFERED SO MUCH IN THE 3 YEARS THAT NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH WHAT HE DID. HE ALWAYS SAID “GETTING OLD ISN’T FOR SISSY’S.” GUESS HE KNOW WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT.
    IT GIVES ME THE CHILLS JUST TO TALK ABOUT THIS AND REMEMBER HOW HORRIBLE THIS WAS FOR HIM. I DID WHAT I COULD BUT THE DRS COULD ONLY DO SO MUCH.
    OH THEY EVEN DID PLASTIC SURGERY ON HIS LEG WOUNDS WITH A PUMP TO KEEP THE WOUNDS CLEAN AND IRRIGATED. THAT DID HELP TO HEAL THAT LEG BUT NOT FOR LONG . THEN HE GOT AN INFECTION IN HIS TOES AND THAT WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE END.

    THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME VENT ABOUT THIS. I HAVE SEEN IN THE PAPER SO MANY ELDERLY PEOPLE WITH THE SAME THING HAPPENING LIKE THIS. YES MORE SHOULD BE DONE AND I THOUGHT AND HOPED THAT IS WAS ALREADY. BUT ONE WON’T KNOW UNTIL THEY HAVE TO GO INTO THE HOSPITAL. PRAYERS & BLESS ANYONE THAT HAS TO.
    THANK CAROL
    THE LAST I HAD HEARD WAS THEY HAD TO DO A MORE THOROUGH JOB OF REPORTING MORE OF THE INCIDENCES OR CASES OF C-DIF AND OTHER INFECTIONS.??

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