INFECTION CONTROL: NYC Hospitals, Businesses Team Up
Six "top" hospitals in New York City are joining forces with the city's business community in "a novel alliance to detect, identify and, if all goes well, reduce ... the rapid spread of bacteria that resist antibiotics," today's New York Times reports. "At the center of the initiative is the notion ... that New York City has more strains of drug-resistant bacteria" than anywhere else in the nation. Willa Appel, president of the New York City Partnership, the business group that will oversee the new effort, said: "Clearly, if New York has a bigger problem than other places, it's going to affect the competitiveness of our hospitals." The Times notes that a Lewin Group study concluded "that staph infections alone cost $435 million to treat in the New York area in 1995."
Under the new effort, hospitals will "share information about infections that they are normally reluctant to discuss with each other." Hospitals will also "standardize" their databases in order to "detect and identify new bacterial strains before they spread," Appel said. Overall, the project will "cost more than $1 million for the first two years," Appel said, adding that "she is seeking federal and state grants to pay for it" (Fisher, 6/23).