House Panel Considers State Disclosure Laws on Hospital Infections
Differences in state laws that seek to increase public disclosure of rates of hospital-acquired infections might confuse consumers and unnecessarily increase administrative costs for hospitals, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) said on Wednesday at a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on the issue, CQ HealthBeat reports (CQ HealthBeat, 3/29).
Six states have enacted laws that require hospitals to report such infections, but Pennsylvania is the only one to collect and publish the results. In a report presented to the subcommittee, the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council estimated that hospital-acquired infections increased U.S. health care costs by an estimated $25 billion for 2005 (California Healthline, 3/29).
Subcommittee Chair Edward Whitfield (R-Ky.) said that 20 to 30 other states have similar legislation under consideration, adding that federal action on the issue should wait until states have more experience with such laws. According to Whitfield, some hospitals will report higher rates of hospital-acquired infections because they treat sicker patients than other facilities, which can make comparisons between facilities difficult.
However, Richard Shannon, chief of medicine at Allegheny General Hospital, said, "The correct approach is for each hospital to demonstrate consistent progress" toward the prevention of such infections (CQ HealthBeat, 3/29).
ABCNews' "Nightline" on Wednesday reported on rates of hospital-acquired infections. The segment includes comments from Denise Cardo, director of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at CDC; Betsy McCaughey, chair of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths; Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.); Marc Volavka, executive director of PHC4; and the son a of a U.S. resident who died from such an infection (Moran, "Nightline," ABCNews, 3/29).
A video excerpt of the segment is available online in RealPlayer.