Judge Upholds Requirements on Reporting of Hospital Infections
On Wednesday, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Peter Busch ruled that California hospitals must file reports on infections associated with 26 types of surgeries, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The ruling stems from a legal dispute between the California Hospital Association and state health officials over a 2008 state law (SB 1058) that requires hospitals to file detailed reports on infections associated with four general types of surgery:
- Orthopedic; and
- Operations within an organ or deep inside the body.
In April, the state Department of Public Health released an all-facilities letterÂ calling for hospitals to submit monthly reports on infections associated with 29 specific procedures.
CHA then filed legal papers asking the court to prevent DPH from enforcing the infection reporting requirement, saying some of the 29 specific procedures fell outside the four general surgery categories. The hospital association said the requirement exceeded the scope of the 2008 law and would impose a significant burden on hospitals (Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/23).
Details of the Ruling
In his ruling, Busch denied CHA's request for an injunction against the state infection reporting requirement. However, he also ruled that infection reporting for three of the 29 procedures -- heart pacemaker surgery, spinal fusion and caesarean-section births -- might not fall under the scope of the 2008 law. Busch said hospitals would be exempt from reporting on the three procedures while he reviews the issue.
The judge also blocked an order by state health officials that would have required hospitals to submit infection reports monthly instead of quarterly.
DPH is scheduled to start posting hospital-specific infection data in January 2012 (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.