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Alarming MRSA Infection Rates Underscore Need for Public Reporting of Hospital-Acquired Infections
Date:10/18/2007

Consumers Union Urges Congress to Enact HR 1174 (Murphy) to Spur Hospitals to Reduce Deadly Patient Infections

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new study that estimates nearly 19,000 Americans died in 2005 from a virulent, antibiotic-resistant infection acquired mostly in the hospital underscores the need for Congress to require public reporting of patient infection rates, according to Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.

The study by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded that almost 95,000 people developed Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections that year, and that 85 percent of the infections were acquired in health care settings.

"Every day, fifty Americans die from MRSA because hospitals aren't doing enough to protect patients from these deadly infections," said Lisa McGiffert, Director of Consumers Union's Stop Hospital Infections campaign (http://www.StopHospitalInfections.org). "The public deserves to know which hospitals are doing a good job preventing infections and keeping patients safe.

HR 1174, a bipartisan measure sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy, R-PA, would require the public reporting by hospitals and surgical centers of one or more types of healthcare-acquired infections. Under the bill, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would determine which of the major types of infections would need to be reported. HHS would submit an annual report to Congress on steps being taken to reduce infections, and there would be a pilot program to assist certain hospitals in developing anti-infection programs.

"By making infection rates public, HR 1174 will encourage hospitals to improve patient care and ultimately save lives and dollars," said McGiffert.

MRSA and other hospital acquired infections can spread from patient to patient through contact wit
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SOURCE Consumers Union
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