Attorney General, Patient Advocates Announce Legislation To Reduce And Report MRSA Infections In Hospitals
(Media-Newswire.com) - Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and patient advocates today introduced legislation to monitor and reduce MRSA ( methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus ) infections in Connecticut hospitals.
There are an estimated 100,000 deaths each year from MRSA infections in our nation's hospitals, but the full extent of the problem in Connecticut hospitals is virtually unknown.
Blumenthal and patient advocates have proposed legislation that would require that, among other things, hospitals screen patients at risk for MRSA infections, including all patients admitted to their intensive care units.
The legislation would also require that hospitals develop specific and strategic plans for reducing incidences of MRSA infections, and submit annual reports to the Department of Public Health ( DPH ).
The reports, available to the public, would detail the number of patients that contracted MRSA infections during their hospital stay and the number of patients that had initially screened positive for MRSA upon admission.
"Appropriate testing and screening seems eminently sensible, indeed plain common sense," Blumenthal said. "Sharply reducing MRSA infections - and an estimated 100,000 MRSA hospital deaths each year - requires clear steps to understand the source and scope of the MRSA problem. Hospitals have a moral obligation to screen and report MRSA infections, but we must make it a binding legal duty."
Jean Rexford, executive director of Connecticut Center for Patients Rights, said, "Screening at-risk patients for MRSA going into our hospitals saves money and, more importantly, saves lives. Any delay in implementing screening will cost lives and continue to add needless financial stress on the hospitals. Collecting the data will in and of itself shine a spotlight on the problem, and the health care consumer can make informed decisions. The Department of Public Health collects information on MRSA in our communities, but 85 percent of the cases are in our hospitals. This legislation will help hospitals understand the pervasiveness of the problem and force a unified effort to stop it."
This legislative proposal would require hospitals to test for MRSA each person admitted to the hospital who was admitted or transferred to the intensive care unit; admitted to the hospital from a nursing home; admitted to such hospital at least five times in the five years preceding the admission; admitted to the hospital for any surgical procedure; currently undergoing chemotherapy or receiving dialysis treatment; and meets such other conditions for a person at risk for the infection as established by DPH.
In developing plans to identify MRSA patients, hospitals would be required to develop specific strategies to reduce the incidence of such infections.
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