Questions Raised Over State’s Efforts To Curb Infections in Hospitals
Patient advocates have criticized the California Department of Public Health for a campaign they said has faltered in its efforts to fight hospital-acquired infections, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The California HealthCare Foundation Center for Health Reporting contributed to this report. CHCF publishes California Healthline (Schoch, Sacramento Bee, 5/29).
Statistics from DPH show that an estimated 12,000 California residents die annually from preventable hospital infections (Creamer, Sacramento Bee, 5/30).
In 2006 and 2008, state legislators passed regulations designed to protect patients from dangerous bacteria in hospitals. The laws authorized DPH to regulate hospitals' anti-infection programs and required the department to collect and publicize infection data from hospitals (Sacramento Bee, 5/29).
Criticism of State's Efforts
However, the state's campaign to curb hospital-acquired infections has yet to show promising results, according to patient advocates and consumer groups. Such criticsÂ note that:
- DPH only recently started drafting regulations to enforce the 2006 and 2008 anti-infection laws;
- State officials did not create a survey on hospital anti-infection programs until last year; and
- The state's first report on hospital-acquired infections had such major flaws that officials said consumers should not use it to compare hospitals.
Officials at DPH said they are committed to making the anti-infection laws work effectively, but they have been hindered by recent budget cuts and funding delays.
Officials noted that DPH has been struggling with a backlog of proposed regulations, but now is accelerating its writing of hospital rules such as anti-infection regulations (Sacramento Bee, 5/29).
On Friday, KQED's "California Report" reported on state efforts to curb hospital-acquired infections (Varney, "California Report," KQED, 5/27).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.