Hospitals Compelled to Report HAIs
To help stop hospital acquired infections (HAI), most U.S. hospitals are now required to report the number of patients who contract bloodstream infections following their treatment in intensive care units. According to reports from the World Federation of Building Service Contractors, the statistics will eventually be made public, showing which hospitals provide better protection for patients.
Nearly 250,000 bloodstream infections occur each year in U.S. hospitals due to catheters, and they contribute to roughly 31,000 patient deaths annually. But research shows that nearly all the infections are preventable when safety measures are used consistently by hospital staff. Although the requirement is technically voluntary but if any of the nation's 4,300 acute-care hospitals fail to comply, they would lose 2 percent of their Medicare funding beginning in fiscal year 2013. Experts believe that the new measure plus public scrutiny will focus more attention on hospital hygiene, which should improve patient safety and shorten the average length of hospitalization. It is the latest initiative taken by the Federal Government to stem the tide against infections.
From 2012 hospitals will be obliged to report the number and rate of surgical site infections, which occur more than 290,000 times a year and claim more than 8,200 lives.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that Americans contract 2 million infections a year while receiving medical care and pay about $6.5 billion for the extra treatment. About 1.7 million health care-associated infections occur in U.S. hospitals. They lead to about 90,000 preventable deaths annually, the CDC estimates. That would make infections from healthcare facilities the sixth most frequent cause of death in the US in 2007 – the latest year where mortality figures are available.
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