4 Good News Stories on HAI, and a Bonus

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , August 11, 2010

The decline was subsequent to the 1997 launch of an educational campaign by federal agencies, academic medical institutions, and private industry to promote use antimicrobial drugs against the bacteria.

3. Last week, a report  from the University of California found that computerized infection monitoring systems help hospitals track and fight healthcare-associated infections. What's more, those hospitals that use these systems are more likely to have fully implemented other evidence-based practices to reduce MRSA than those hospitals that used manual systems to track infections.

4. In late May, the CDC held a forum to announce that the 17 states that mandate hospital reporting of central line bloodstream infections had 18% fewer rates of infections compared with the three previous years.

The report was hailed as "a turning point in transparency and accountability for healthcare" by Peter Pronovost, MD, medical director of the Center for Innovations in Quality Patient Care at Johns Hopkins University who is credited for developing a five-step CLABSI prevention checklist.

But it is the fifth story that may drive quality improvements farther and faster than any of the others.

5. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced that starting Jan. 1, 2011, any hospital that accepts Medicare patients—as most do—will have to report to the CDC their central line associated bloodstream infections that occur within intensive and neonatal intensive care units or go without a pay increase the following year.

In 2012, surgical site infection reporting will begin with similar payment incentives.

Those infection rates will be included in the impossible-to-pronounce RHQDAPU, which stands for "Reporting Hospital Quality Data for Annual Payment Update."

And here's another really important part of this fifth story: Sometime next year, as soon as Medicare thinks it has enough reports, those hospital-specific infection rates will start showing up on CMS's Hospital Compare  website, along with hundreds of other cost, outcome and process measures for each facility that receives Medicare reimbursement in the country.


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