16 April 2008

HAIs: Congress weighs in

Today, the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on hospital-acquired infections, led by committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).

The witness list is here. A Government Accountability Office report that was presented during the hearing is here. Its title captures the committee's point of view: "Leadership Needed from HHS to Prioritize Prevention Practices and Improve Data on These Infections."

In opening the hearing, Waxman said:
[HHS] is not providing the necessary leadership. It has not identified for hospitals the most important infection control practices, and it is not coordinating the collection of data from hospitals in order to avoid duplication and unnecessary burden.
The failure of HHS leadership is particularly regrettable because these illnesses, deaths, and costs are preventable. Moreover, the preventive measures don’t require new technologies or large investments.
The witness list includes links to testimony, including some very powerful remarks delivered by HA-MRSA survivor Edward F. Lawton:
We possess the knowledge and capabilities to fight this enemy; we possess the educational and professional expertise to overcome and destroy it. The only question is whether we have the will to fulfill the mission!

(And BTW, apologies to loyal readers for disappearing for a week. I was speaking at the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and doing book-related research in New York. Back now.)

No comments: