New Jersey Hospitals to Report Their Infection Rates
A state Senate bill requiring hospitals to make their infection rates public was passed by a 36–0 vote today in the New Jersey legislature. Five to ten percent of Americans hospitalized each year contract an infection as a result of a hospital error, resulting in two million such infections being reported each year. Some 90,000 people die each year due to hospital infections in the U.S.
Infection Rates, Types, and Control
Sponsored by Senator Joseph Vitale, the bill would mandate that each hospital in the state make quarterly reports to the state's Department of Health and Senior Services that detail the hospital's:
On a Website
All of the information would be provided without identifying any patients who were infected. The reports would be posted on the Department's website so that health consumers can review the infection rates before they choose a hospital for care.
The reporting is also expected to prompt poorly performing hospitals to take stronger action to decrease the infection rates at their facilities. Said Senator Vitale, "While there will always be a level of risk in any surgery or hospital visit, we need to do more to decrease that risk for vulnerable patients."
Pressure to Control Infections
He added, "By informing the public about healthcare-related infection rates, we are bringing the pressure of the marketplace down on those facilities that haven't done enough to protect their patients. Exposing infection rates to public scrutiny is the first step towards ensuring safer hospitals and healthcare facilities for the people of New Jersey."
A Model for Other States
Senator Vitale said that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that this New Jersey bill be adopted as a model for other states to follow. Treatment for hospital infections has been estimated to cost the U.S. more than $4.5 billion in healthcare costs each year.
Has a hospital infection caused you or a family member a serious illness? Contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney today to discuss your legal rights.
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