California Hospitals Lag Behind Other Facilities in Infection Reporting
Disease-tracking experts say that California lags behind at least 15 other states in monitoring hospital-acquired infections at health care facilities, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The California Nurses Association is calling for all state health facilities to publicly report their infections to the state, arguing that without public oversight, hospitals often cut costs by downsizing their nursing and infection-control staff.
But many hospitals in California oppose reporting infection rates to the state because they say it would require extra staff and onerous paperwork.
Debby Rogers, a lobbyist with the California Hospital Association, said public reporting of infections would penalize facilities that treat the sickest patients who are most prone to infection. Rogers also said the public reports could unfairly damage hospitals' reputations and not give them enough credit for the infections that they prevent.
In 2004 Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) vetoed a bill that would have required the public reporting of infection rates because he said the state already had enough oversight and that hospitals were working to control infections.
In 2006 Schwarzenegger signed legislation sponsored by the hospital industry that requires hospitals to publicly report their infection-control policies.
This year Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara) has introduced legislation that would require hospitals to screen for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (Hennessey-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, 2/24).