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Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths Applauds Senator Durbin's Hospital Infection Legislation, but Suggests Some Crucial Additions in Order to Combat Soaring MRSA Rates
Date:10/29/2007

NEW YORK, Oct. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following release is being issued by the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths:

"I am glad to see Senator Durbin's bill will use Medicare's purchasing clout to motivate hospitals to reduce infection," said Betsy McCaughey, Ph.D., Chairman of RID and a former Lt. Governor of New York State. "Hospitals are not going to clean up until their biggest customer, the federal government, demands it."

RID OFFERS THE FOLLOWING SUGGESTIONS FOR SENATOR DURBIN:

1. Broaden Medicare's Financial Penalties for Hospital-Acquired Infections:

"Two months ago, Medicare announced that it would stop paying extra when patients contract an infection in the hospital. But the holes in the new Medicare rule are wide enough to drive an ambulance through. Medicare will still pay to treat most post-surgical infections, and all infections caused by the bacterium methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA is among the fastest growing and deadliest causes of infection. Medicare's financial penalty should target MRSA infections, not give them a free pass," said McCaughey.

2. Impose More Rigorous Guidelines for Hospitals:

"For over two decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have traced the rapid rise in drug-resistant infections. The CDC has consistently understated the size of the problem, the morality, and the cost," said McCaughey. "Worse still, the CDC's lax guidelines have given hospitals an excuse to do too little."

3. Inspect Hospitals for Cleanliness:

"Unclean hands and inadequately cleaned equipment allow drug-resistant bacteria to race through hospitals. In the past, the federal government has relied on the Joint Commission to inspect and accredit hospitals, but the Joint Commission gives scant attention to cleanliness. It's ironic that in many parts of the U.S., restaurants are inspected yearly for cleanliness, but not hospitals, not even operating rooms."

4. Penalize Hospitals that Fail to Deal Honestly with Government and Families:

On October 17, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a report showing that MRSA infections were twice as prevalent as previous CDC estimates. Previous estimates were based on what hospitals reported to the CDC, told families, and put on death certificates. The new data are based on laboratory results. "Families have complained to me for years that they were not told the truth when their loved one died from an infection. When stockbrokers and corporate CEO's lie about finances, they risk going to jail. But when hospital administrators fail to tell someone the truth about why their mother or father died, there's no penalty. That needs to change," said McCaughey. Senator Durbin should include a penalty in his legislation for under-reporting.


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SOURCE Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths
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