27 February 2008

Hospital MRSA - should healthcare institutions be forced to report it?

I'll be moderating a panel exploring that contentious issue at the Association of Health Care Journalists' annual meeting in March. On the panel:
  • Carmela Coyle, senior vice president for policy, American Hospital Association
  • Betsy McCaughey, Ph.D., CEO and chair, Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths
  • Carole Moss, executive director, Nile's Project
  • Chesley Richards, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director, Division of Health Care Quality Promotion, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
A number of states have passed laws in the past few years that require public disclosure of hospital-acquired infections, and a half-dozen have added provisions that specify reporting HA-MRSA. It seems like a no-brainer: Shame is a great motivator.

But some citizen-advocates are concerned that clever or well-funded institutions will be able to game the system. And some researchers who have evaluated infection-reporting regimes warn that surveillance often misses patients and reporting regimes are not standardized from state to state.


Anonymous said...

I do not know how any of your panel can address MRSA or hospital infections with a group to 1000 investigative reporter if they [or you] have never been in a hospital to see first hand the terrible conditions and the filth. Culture, culture, culture that is what most novices subscribe to but in order to prevent transmission you have to first have clean hospitals and clean patient and clean hands

Maryn McKenna said...

I appreciate your frustration, but I don't understand why you'd assume we haven't been in hospitals to see the conditions. Myself, I just finished a year appointment as a Kaiser Family Foundation fellow and I spent my term observing ER overnight shifts. Other reporters have done the same. It's one reason why we're so interested in the problem: We can see the failures.

That said, we never see enough: Reporters are always interested in first-person accounts of what goes on inside difficult-to-penetrate institutions. So if you have a story you'd like to tell about a hospital that was not clean or did not follow infection-control procedures, please email me.

Anonymous said...

When MRSA is suspected enough that testing is required, why wait to isolate? In the time that the culture report is complete many more patiets are at the risk acquiring this hospital born infection. Which now because of all the years of hospitals not reporting infections it has jumped from hospital environment right into our community. I personally know isolation comes to late in most hospital protocol. Isolate sooner to eliminate further contamination. Save a life.