Hospitals in California Could See New Infection Reporting Requirements
Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara) plans to introduce legislation this month that would require hospitals and nursing homes to report infection rates and adopt measures for preventing antibiotic-resistant staph infections, the Los Angeles Times reports.
A similar measure requiring facilities to report hospital-acquired infections was vetoed in 2004 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). Hospitals opposed the mandate, arguing that public reporting could lead to lawsuits from patients who could have contracted the infection elsewhere.
Jan Emerson, spokesperson for the California Hospital Association, said the organization would not take a formal position on the bill until it reviews the introduced version of the legislation, which is still in draft form.
Under Alquist's proposed bill, hospitals would be required to screen high-risk patients for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a prominent antibiotic-resistant staph infection.
According to CDC, about 94,000 U.S. residents in 2005 contracted MRSA, and 85% of the infections were from exposure in hospitals and other health care settings.
The proposed legislation also would add MRSA to the list of communicable diseases that providers and laboratories must report to county and state health authorities for monitoring. Hospitals also would be required to inform patients about the risks of infections (Engel, Los Angeles Times, 1/1).