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The Danger of Healthcare-Associated Infections - II

Today's medical malpractice post will continue the previous discussion of healthcare-associated infections - sometimes referred to as nosocomial infections or hospital-acquired infections.  These infections pose a real threat to the health and safety of patients in many healthcare settings (hospitals, surgical centers, birthing centers, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, correctional institutions, etc.).

(Please see "The Danger of Healthcare-Associated Infections - I" for more information.)

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Health experts and safety advocates across the country assert that one of the primary methods of combating healthcare-associated infections is through public disclosure/reporting requirements. Essentially, this means a system of either state or federal laws that mandate public disclosure by hospitals of information related to healthcare-associated infections, including the frequency of any infections.

The aforementioned proponents believe that such a public disclosure/reporting requirement would enable patients to make informed medical decisions and encourage hospitals to implement the necessary prevention policies/procedures.

Furthermore, proponents assert that a public disclosure/reporting requirement would significantly reduce health care costs. An excerpt from an NCSL report helps illustrate:

"A 2006 Pennsylvania report showed that patients with a healthcare-associated infections were hospitalized for 20.6 days, compared to 4.5 days for patients without infections. Insurers paid an average of $53,915 for hospital stays for patients with infections, compared to $8,311 for patients without infections."
 
It is worth noting that as of May 2010, there are 27 states (including Texas) with public disclosure requirements related to healthcare-associated infections. While the majority of these state laws only require hospitals to report healthcare-associated infections, some more recently passed laws mandate the implementation of certain precautionary measures.

If you lost a loved one to what you believe was medical malpractice or a failure to diagnose or treat an infection, you should strongly consider contacting an experienced legal professional.

This post was for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal or medical advice.

Related Resources:

• Lessons From the Pioneers: Reporting Healthcare-Associated Infections (The National Conference of State Legislatures)

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