August 2nd, 2010
04:42 PM ET

New regulations may cut down infections in hospitals

In the United States, hospital-acquired infections alone afflict almost 2 million patients and kill approximately 100,000 people annually, more than diabetes or influenza and pneumonia. That's according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control.  Beginning next year, Americans will be able to check to see how their hospitals or medical facilities fare when it comes to preventing these types of infections.

Under the new hospital acquired infection reporting regulations adopted by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), patients will be able to see how many hospital induced infections have been filed at their particular medical institution. According to the Consumer's Union Safe Patient project, public reporting of infection rates will help save lives and money by pressuring hospitals to improve preventive measures against hospital acquired infections.

"Patients shouldn't have to worry about getting sicker with an infection they catch in the hospital but every year nearly two million Americans do," says Lisa McGiffert, Director of the project. "Making infection rates public is a powerful motivator for hospitals to improve care and keep patients safe. This is an enormous victory for patient safety advocates who have worked tirelessly to hold hospitals accountable for failing to eliminate infections."

The new reporting requirements apply to hospitals that participate in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) "pay-for-reporting" program. According to the Consumer's Union, virtually all hospitals in the country participate because they earn a higher Medicare payment for doing so. During the first year using the regulations, Medicare payments will be based on how effectively hospitals are reporting infection rates. Beginning in October 2012, Medicare payments to hospitals will be tied to how well they protect patients from these infections and the quality of their patient care.

Starting in 2011, hospitals will be required to report to the CDC the number of people who develop bloodstream infections in their intensive care and neonatal intensive care units. The CDC estimates that patients develop more than 250,000 central line associated bloodstream infections each year while in the hospital.

Infection rate information for each hospital will then be posted later that year on the federal Hospital Compare web site.

The new regulations are part of HHS's five-year plan to reduce hospital acquired infections. The CDC estimates that the direct costs associated with hospital infections are as high as $45 billion each year.

soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. mcdo4

    Making patient infection rates public is a powerful motivator for hospitals to improve care!! What does that say about hospitals and the physicians and professionals who work there? I guess we better not go to hospitals because they do not want quality care for their patients. It takes CMS and patient advocates demanding the posting of quality data and threatening taking money away for hospitals to do the right thing. If we are to believe that hospitals do not want to improve patient care unless they are threatened-then I say we should avoid going to hospitals all together-the money grubbing, altrustic, healthcare workers.
    Or maybe it is the public relations department of the CMS, insurance companies etc who put these ridiculous statements out.

    August 2, 2010 at 22:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Matt

    Here Philadelphia, I see doctors, nurses and other hospital staff walking on the street every day with their scrubs. My nurse friend from Europe told me they would never allow that on the continent. Why is this allowed here? Why not prevent bacteria from entering the facilities by changing into scrubs inside the hospital?

    August 2, 2010 at 22:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mickael

      Not exactly true- many European countries are now going away from this because: 1- infection data has shown there to be no difference, 2- the docs in european countries (or at least where I went to school in Paris) wear their scrubs into the common cantine to eat and outside to smoke which defeats the purpose....

      August 2, 2010 at 22:30 | Report abuse |
    • Your facts aren't entirely correct, Matt

      There are 2 reasons why many hospitals let their staff wear scrubs homes. A) The cost. It is extremely expensive for a hospital to supply and clean scrubs. B) Multiple studies have confirmed that staff who wear scrubs from home don't have any more germs on their scrubs than those who put on scrubs at the hospital. What DOES matter is how doctors and staff perform while wearing scrubs. Do they wash their hands before and after touching a patient, do they use sterile technique when inserting and changing catheters, do they educate patients on hygiene, do they change their scrubs if they become contaminated, etc. THAT is more important than whether someone wears their scrubs home.

      August 2, 2010 at 23:26 | Report abuse |
    • Carmela

      It's true. I see it here, in New York, every day. There's a hospital near where I work and see workers wearing scrubs in the street all the time. I wonder what kind of germs they pick up when they come back from lunch.

      August 3, 2010 at 07:54 | Report abuse |
  3. Dan

    All hospitals should have to report this, and be checked on it, or lose their licensing. They shouldn't need to be bribed.

    August 2, 2010 at 22:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. disgusted taxpayer

    Yes, why do hospitals just have to REPORT infection rates - why not require rates to be LOWERED!! It would help if Drs and hospitals cared more about patients and less about money. Lots of things could be done to prevent infections, but they take time and care. And yes, scrubs should NOT be worn outside hospitals, or the white coats - how do you think MRSA and those things are also transferred out to the community? Those scrubs and white coats are meant for hospital only - they are supposed to be CLEAN, not worn in the local grocery store.

    August 2, 2010 at 22:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bennett

      Community acquired MRSA evolved in the community – it's an entirely genetically distinct bacteria from hospital MRSA. Something the media doesn't actually educate anyone about...so consider this your education :o) If you want to blame anyone, blame people wanting antibiotics for viral sore throats (and the docs who caved into pressure to prescribe them).

      August 2, 2010 at 23:33 | Report abuse |
    • rbnlegend

      You can't lower a rate if you don't know what it is. The first step is finding out what the rate is. Then you can take action to lower it, if needed. Right now, it's a good bet that nearly every hospital thinks they are in the best 10% for infection rates. Many of them will be very disappointed by an objective measurement.

      August 3, 2010 at 07:26 | Report abuse |
  5. Donna

    Great point.....I 've often thought the same thing.............and who is to say scrubs are worn only once or worn several days at a time, in between washing them. Often, scrubs are provided for the maternity and OR Staff......hospitals should be made to provide them to all staff. This would ensure they are clean and fresh and not worn out in the community at large.

    August 2, 2010 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kdinla

      To all of you people upset over hospital staff wearing their scrubs in from home: as a nurse I promise I will bring in clean scrubs and change after I get to the hospital if every visitor of my patients agrees to do the same thing. What difference does my wearing clean scrubs into a patient's room matter if every visitor is wearing the clothes they wore all day at work or going shopping or doing childcare, and then they come in and hug the patient? Which one of us is exposing the patient to outside contaminants?

      August 3, 2010 at 07:36 | Report abuse |
  6. Brian

    The number killed could be far higher than 100,000. Some states don't even require reporting on this so the deaths could be attributed to something else. If you have been through our health care system you know what a mess it is.

    August 2, 2010 at 22:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. James

    We simple Americans. Do we think the fox calls the farmer to tell him when he will raid the coup? The Joint Commision of Hospital Accreditation notifies the hospitals well in advance of their "random" inspection. What makes us think the hospitals would keep legitimate records for their own punishment anymore than Wall Street would regulate itself.
    A doctor the past 48 yrs.

    August 2, 2010 at 22:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Trev

      wait wait wait.... you mean to tell me that they are informed??? You mean kind of like how OSHA tells the Aviation industry they are coming to inspect for safety and that we are doing our job right??? Come on people if they really tell us the truth about the industry none of us would ever go...

      August 2, 2010 at 23:08 | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      Hospitals are notified the morning the Joint Commission arrives... no earlier. Get your facts straight James.

      August 3, 2010 at 09:05 | Report abuse |
    • James

      Todd, SHUT UP! I have been a doctor for 48 years, probably before you were even a THOUGHT! Don't lecture me on things you do not understand. I brought babies into this world and gave people enemas. Now what , huh punk?

      August 3, 2010 at 18:30 | Report abuse |
  8. Eric

    It’s amazing how many times the hygiene lesson needs to be learned by the medical profession. I don't care what the "data" show, scrubs intended to be worn in sterile environments should not be worn outside and hands need to be effectively cleansed with greater consistency. Get your act together, and save some lives!

    August 2, 2010 at 23:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nursehope

      Scrubs worn in sterile environments (OR, etc.) ARE changed out prior to exiting into the general care area. AS for handwashing, between soap and water scrubs, we use hand santizing gels. There is a bottle outside EVERY patient's room. We get a squirt before we enter and as we exit.

      August 2, 2010 at 23:29 | Report abuse |
    • Eric, patients need to do their part also!

      All of this talk about the hygiene of medical professionals is important. But patients need to do their part. Many patients are SLOBS!!!! THEY don't wash their hands after using the bathroom, THEY won't cover their noses or mouths when coughing and sneezing, THEY don't bath daily, and THEY keep smoking, drinking, and doing all the bads things that reduce one's immune system. People need to do their part to protect their health, too!

      August 2, 2010 at 23:31 | Report abuse |
  9. whatnext

    Meanwhile, breast cancer, which causes 40,000 deaths a year in the U.S. gets so much publicity and fundraising you'd think it was the world's leading killer.

    August 2, 2010 at 23:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RN

    "I see doctors, nurses and other hospital staff walking on the street every day with their scrubs."

    Many front office workers in medical/dental offices wear scrubs and have no patient contact whatsoever. I am a nurse and definitely do not wear my scrubs anywhere but the hospital. I agree that this probably happens, but I just wanted to point that out. Also, scrubs are not worn in sterile environments unless you are actually in the OR.

    The hospital I work in takes extra precautions against hospital acquired infections. It's going a little far to say that doctors and nurses don't care. If I didn't care, I could make much more money in different profession.

    As for MRSA being transferred in the community... you can get that from the person next to you in the grocery store or your kids can get it from a classmate.

    August 2, 2010 at 23:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rbnlegend

      Scrubs used to be worn by medical staff who had a reason to wear them. Now it's just a way to confirm that a person works in a hospital or doctors office. It's gone from being a tool, to an accessory.

      My understanding is, for situation that actually call for a sterile environment or involve contamination with bodily fluids, either an additional layer of protective gear is worn, or the clothing is changed out entirely.

      August 3, 2010 at 07:30 | Report abuse |
  11. Bennett

    What will actually happen is that the hospitals will stop looking for the reportable infections...if they're not found, they can't be reported! One easy way to get a clean balance sheet.

    August 2, 2010 at 23:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. MM

    My Mother had cataract surgery at a local hospital and almost lost her sight due an infection. This was an outpatient procedure....this surgery is very common. And this happened at the best hospital in town.

    August 2, 2010 at 23:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Josephson

    I fail to understand how scrubs worn to the hospital and then worn outside are any dirtier than the pants, shirts, and ties health care workers wear to the hospital and then walk outside in regularly... beside the fact that scrubs are actually washed and wool pants and ties are rarely washed. And also the psychological impression that scrubs are dirtier when they are in fact far far cleaner. I agree that it would be better if all clothes were changed between entering and leaving a hospital but if the public wants that they should realize that they will cover the high cost of having the utilities needed for it through taxes or higher insurance costs.

    August 3, 2010 at 00:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Andrew

    Hospitals are not sterile environments, only in the OR and therefore wearing scrubs outside of the hospital is not an issue. If that were the case, every patient, visitor, etc. would have to change when they entered the hospital. Furthermore, the 100,000 who die from infections are mostly already sick and with very poor immune systems. That's not to say that healthcare professionals shouldn't do everything they can to make the environment as safe as possible, but aside from what is already being done, new measures cost $$$$$$, and then people are mad when their bill goes up. Lastly, to say doctors/nurses don't care is completely wrong. If they didn't care, they wouldn't be in that profession. They work twice the # of hours as most people, and don't earn nearly as much money as people think, except after MANY years or in ludicrous industries like plastic surgery. Sometimes staff may seem less than enthused because they are finishing a 12 hour shift and have been dealing with crazy people all day. Don't believe me, ask your local hospital to shadow a doctor or nurse, they let you do that.

    August 3, 2010 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rbnlegend

      It's amazing to me that a truck driver can loose his license for driving more than 8 hours in a day, but a doctor is expected to practice medicine for 12 hours and more. Is practicing medicine really that much easier than driving a truck?

      August 3, 2010 at 07:33 | Report abuse |
  15. RN

    Hospitals can't "stop looking" for infections... If a patient has an infection, he/she will have symptoms and the infection has to be treated. How will that be hidden?

    Infections in hospitals are unfortunately pretty common, but hospital staff are constantly looking for ways to improve patient care through evidence based practice. Look up NACHRI and infection control/ bloodstream infections.

    August 3, 2010 at 00:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. georgiegirl

    The first time I worked in a hospital was back in early 1970's while in the Air Force. At that time they cultured the OR, newborn nursery every three or four months. They may have tested other areas that I wasn't aware of. If any results came back positive for staph we would have to clean the newborn nursery from top to bottom to make sure it was taken care of. Since that time, I worked at the Veterans Administration Hospital, and Kaiser Hospital and I can tell you that neither place did any thing of the sort, nor did they have enough housekeepers to do the job....(or at least the job wasn't done properly). When I worked at Kaiser I was told by two housekeepers that if anyone in my family ever had to come in for surgery to let them know so that they could make sure the room was cleaned correctly. So, above all else, you need people that are willing to clean the areas as if they themselves were going to be patients there. You have to have nurses that aren't afraid to help out as needed, and you need someone to inspect and test the areas to make sure the patients do not get sick/die. Also, I think that the hospitals with recirculating air is a major mistake, and causes more problems then the hospitals are willing to admit.

    August 3, 2010 at 00:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. J Herring

    You all are talking about the scrubs as if they are the only variable in transmitting diseases. You have no idea what you are even discussing. I have worked in hospitals for over 25 years. Research, done extensively by the way, shows they major reason for the transmission of infections in hospitals is hand hygiene, or the lack of. Simply running a little water over your hands after leaving one patient and going to another does little to prevent infection. I agree with the policing of this problem. Healthcare workers have families too, and they often times become patients. Therefore, we have a vested interest in solving these problems. All the hospitals I have been a part of try to be very diligent in preventing infections. But as I say, there are many variables you do not know or probably are not interested in knowing before you place blame.

    August 3, 2010 at 00:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Nurse Taylor

    The best, most simple, and cheapest way to prevent infections is to wash your hands. Patients and visitors have a responsibility as well as healthcare providers– Wash your hands and cover that cough. Please do not come to the hospital as a "visitor" if you are running a temperature or you feel ill- sick hospitalized patients are sick enough without exposure to your stinking germs.

    August 3, 2010 at 00:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Austin

    This information would have been nice to have last year. I contracted Staph through a PICC line at a hospital last year while being treated for a different disease. The Staph eventually decided it wanted to live in my femur. 5 surgeries later, I guess I am thankful my leg is fully functioning again and I can still do most of the things I love – but this is not something someone should have to worry about when they seek help for a different medical condition.

    August 3, 2010 at 00:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Brian

    I read a report that doctors almost never have their tie cleaned and strange infections show up when a culture is done of their ties. I wish hospitals could be as efficient in this area as they are in billing patients. The hospital billing department is oh SO efficient.

    August 3, 2010 at 00:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • James

      I am a doctor and I will be the first to admit that many in my profession are pompous jerks. I have had repeat patients for decades because I stand out as courteous and helpful. But, most are money-grabbing, self-righteous pinheads. I strongly recommend any and all doctors that do NOT live up to their hypocratic oath to 'do no harm' which defintely involves be sterile.

      August 3, 2010 at 18:35 | Report abuse |
  21. Delusion

    The CDC publishes the defintions that infection preventionists (typically nurses or med techs with additional training) use to identiify infections. These definitions have been shown to be completely subjective and unable to be reproduced by multiple reviewers of the same case. This has been demonstrated at international meetings of the Association of Professionals in Infection Control. A room of 300 infection preventionists were unable to achieve anything remotely resembling a consensus on a given set of patient cases. This is the data that will be reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network. No two hospitals will apply these defintions in the same way. A hospital that is rigorously applying the defintions will likely have higher rates than a hospital that is sloppy in its application of the same definitions to a similar patient population.

    This system can be completely gamed, and the CDC has just guaranteed that it will be. The job performance of an infection preventionist is determined by the infection rates in a hospital. How can any rational person expect an objective assessment of tthe true infection rate from a person in that situation? The CDC stopped requiring housewide surveillance for infections nearly 20 years ago. The "infection rates" that have been reported, when they've been reported, are extrapolations of a very limited set of data. Only 20-30% of healthcare associated infections are taking place in the intensive care units, where the overwhelming majority of surveillance takes place.

    The CDC willl bask in the warm glow of self congratulation, while CMS is played like a fiddle by hospitals reporting rates that can't be verified. This will be the largest case of Medicare/Medicaid/insurance fraud in the history of this nation.

    August 3, 2010 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve T

      Well I guess we just heard from the health care community... Incredible that the one's causing the problem are the same one's trying to find a way around any attempt at oversight. The delusion in this country is that the initials M.D. stand for Minor Deity, the fact is that it stands for More Dollars – for the doctor, hospital, pharmacy, you name it; and who pays for these dirty little infections? That's right, the patient. Wash your damned hands, train your janitorial staff, stop writing unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions that create resistance, stop discharging people 4 hours after surgery (great way to claim it was a community based infection, isn't it?). Stop the whining and crying and do your job!

      August 3, 2010 at 03:32 | Report abuse |
  22. Rob

    Hospitals, doctors, and nurses are already working very hard to keep infections rates low, to say anything else is irresponsible and malicious. This is HHS attempting to prove it is relevant. Do people get infections while in the hospital, yes...unfortunately they do. Is it because of a lack of caring...absolutely not. Patients sick enough to qualify for hospital admission today would largely have been considered "terminal" in years gone by. The invasive monitors and intravenous lines required to keep these patients alive do provide a route for infection to enter the body, but without them, the patients would die. Beware of the unintended consequence that people get less aggressive care (which may be a good thing, but that is another discussion altogether) and then end up dying of the disease that brought them into the hospital instead of surviving or catching a "hospital acquired infection."

    August 3, 2010 at 00:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. samsteve

    I agree that making this information available is a good idea. I also know it will be another reason for the hospitals to kick patients out the door before they are ready. The sooner they are out, the less likely an infection will occur. There are many other complications that can happen from not having proper monitoring. As a matter of fact, I did have a serious infection after giving birth. I was sent home within 36 hours. After being readmitted with a fever of 105 degrees weeks later, I was again sent home after IV antibiotics despite the fact that I told the doctor I still felt pain. After my third trip to the hospital and surgery to remove retained placenta I recovered. This took a total of 5 weeks and cost a lot of money. The point I am trying to make is...sending patients home quickly to avoid infection doesn't always work but will almost surely become an even more common practice. This was not infection "caught" at the hospital but many patients like myself don't even know they have an infection until they are very ill. Good practice as well as good monitoring should be the way to go. Also, patients should be told what to look for in the way of infection. I thought I just had a case of flu. If my husband hadn't found me i'm not sure what would have happened.

    August 3, 2010 at 01:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. titanne

    In 1985, my 41 year old husband died at NYU hospital, of a staff infection he contracted during open heart surgery to replace his aortic valve... I spent many weeks by his side in the CVCU... I found out, much later on, that every hospital is "allowed" a certain level of staff... It just so happened that my husband's surgery was schedule at a time when the level was really high... I have nothing more to say!

    August 3, 2010 at 01:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Eva

    I have spent months to years of my life as a patient in various hospitals (I have terminal cancer), and I have observed very closely what is going on in terms of hygiene. In my view, doctors' and nurses' hygiene is actually near-perfect in most places, but the real problem is JANITORIAL/ housekeeping. Minimum wage staff who is obviously completely non motivated is hired and not properly trained, plus is not supervised much at all. As a result, especially toilets are out-of-this-world filthy and unsanitary, floors are dirty, vinyl treatment chairs are not wiped with antibacterial wipes between patients, carpets are not deep cleaned, etc. I would be most everything that that's where a larger percentage of these infections come from. Patients try not to use the restrooms, but what do you do if you are an inpatient, or have to spend 7 hrs there while getting 2l of IV fluids? Cancer friend of mine with wiped out immune system is in ICU right now with blood infection, we hope he'll make it through the night tonight, and he's only 40...

    August 3, 2010 at 01:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • titanne

      I observed the same filth in 1985, during the weeks I spent by my husband' s side in the CVCU.... Except one time, a health inspection was scheduled... You should have seen how everyone was scrambling to get things in tip top shape...
      Best wishes to your friend!

      August 3, 2010 at 02:09 | Report abuse |
  26. J Schmidt

    The hospital in my area has stopped changing hospital sheets daily unless there is some problem w/ the sheets. I would like to know the rate of MERSA vs this ruling. I feel there is a strong connection that may be being overlooked.

    August 3, 2010 at 02:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. DP2010

    How do you get hospitals to own up to the infections? Private doctors might make claims, but they'll have to worry about losing their privileges if they make too many claims.

    August 3, 2010 at 02:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Kevin

    Please read an article on Norways mrsa and other superbugs. What path are we going down? When will it be too late to turn around? Again, Norway-MRSA. Pretty interesting read if nothing else.

    August 3, 2010 at 02:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Steve T

    If you want to drop the nosocomial infection rate, make one change – all hospitals, clinics or caregivers must pay for any costs associated with an infection that was acquired in a health care setting. They don't have an incentive to stop them, in fact they have an incentive FOR them, as they get paid for all the extra care required, even though they caused the problem. Put the penalty for failure to report or a cover up at about 20 years in prison per occurrence and watch things change. There is a reason health care in this country is the highest in the world, a direct violation of THE tenet of medicine "first do no harm!".

    August 3, 2010 at 03:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RN87

    I am a nurse...I am NOT a 'money grubbing, alruistic health care worker'. As a previous RN stated, if I wanted to make more
    money, with better hours, I be doing something different, for a living..
    Everyone has 'normal flora'...bacteria that lives on our skin.
    Antibiotics disrupt this normal flora...so...when a person takes an antibiotic for a 'viral infection', like a 'cold'? This affects the
    normal flora, in our bodies...inside and out. And when a patient doesn't finish the entire course of antibiotics, this is a con-
    tributing factor, as well.
    Reporting infection rates, is not a new concept. Our facility tracks every patient that comes for treatment. Many patients come from other facilities, with infections present. They are placed in 'isolation'.
    Please...assume some responsibility, for your health and health care, people! Hygiene IS important...I see many people, who
    just plain DO NOT BATHE!!! Your skin, is an organ, that protects us from all sorts of things...infection being one of them.
    Again...wash your hands!!!! Cover your mouth, when you sneeze or cough!!!! If you have vomiting or diarrhea, use some
    common sense, and please don't come to 'share' it, with everyone else...these are many times viral, in nature.....there is no
    'quick fix' or 'magic cure'. That is the body's way, of eliminating the virus from the system...
    I do not think, that a 'clean sheet' every day, contributes to the incidence of MRSA. Sheets ARE changed, when they become soiled...and the entire room, is terminally cleaned, between patients...
    Bacteria and infection, have been in existence, for hundreds of years. They will continue to be so.

    August 3, 2010 at 03:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RN87

    You obvioiusly really do not have a clue, about funding and reimbursement, in the health care system, today...

    August 3, 2010 at 03:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve T

      Really? I guess it is time to quit my job. You trying to affix the blame for hospital based infections on those pesky patients who won't bathe is hilarious – and absolutely prototypical health care propaganda. The blame for hospital based infections lies directly at your feet; you can wiggle all you want and it is still true. You accuse the patients of being dirty, of sick visitors, ANYTHING but taking ownership of a growing problem. And I am the one without a clue...

      August 3, 2010 at 04:08 | Report abuse |
  32. Pizza Govorun

    Sure! More bureaucracy! This is so helpful to providing patient care! Doctors already spend too much time with patients, right?
    And trying to measure things that are immesurably complex... In other words, a doctor who is good enough to take more complicated cases is going to have worse bureaucratic-measured outcomes. Or a county hospital that has patients who on average are much sicker and otherwise more prone to illness (drugs, alcohol, homelessnes, noncompliance) gotta look worse than a suburban hospital.

    August 3, 2010 at 04:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. JDG

    Patients simply don't get their choice of hospitals. This is driven by their insurance company, which is job-based and serves the employer, not the sick patient. Further, the human being dying of a heart attack or bleeding in an emergency doesn't have much opportunity to consumer-shop. Rectal bleeding emergencies are rather unlike shiopping for a washing machine. There is no so-called "free market" in US healthcare, and the absence of a unified Single Payer system is the core of inappropriate monetary flow. Everyone who might get sick - this means every citizen - must realize that the recent "reform' was written by a health insurance executive (Liz Fowler) in the employ of Senator Baucus, a recipient of major health insurance industry donations.

    August 3, 2010 at 04:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Gee

    How about you people crying and whinning on this take all your antibiotics that are perscribed to you and stop asling for antibiotics from your doctor everytime you get a cough. You have created your own problems.

    August 3, 2010 at 04:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve T

      Now let me get this right – it is not the person who prescribed the unnecessary antibiotic that is the problem, rather it is the patient?? Now that is some serious logic. FMG's unite!!

      August 3, 2010 at 04:56 | Report abuse |
  35. RN

    STEVE T:
    As of Oct. 1, 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) no longer provides reimbursement over and above the typical Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) rate for care required to battle several types of healthcare-associated infection, also referred to as hospital acquired infection (HAI).
    CMS collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other healthcare groups to identify a number of hospital-acquired conditions that were high volume, high cost, or both and “could reasonably have been prevented through the application of evidence-based guidelines,” as mandated by Section 5001(c) of the Deficit Reduction Act.

    The final rule states, hospitals “will not receive additional payment for cases in which one of the selected conditions was not present on admission. That is, the case will be paid as though the secondary diagnosis was not present.” Those “selected conditions” include:

    • Serious preventable events, such as an object left in during surgery, air embolism and blood incompatibility;

    • Catheter-associated urinary tract infection;

    • Pressure ulcers;

    • Vascular catheter-associated infection;

    • Surgical site infection –– mediastinitis after coronary artery bypass graft; and

    • Falls and trauma including fractures, dislocations, intracranial injuries, crushing injuries and burns

    August 3, 2010 at 05:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve T

      I am well aware of the rules – and I am also aware of the coding required to avoid these secondary diagnoses, and the general level of deception among the medical community as well as blaming the patients for those infections, i.e. "none of these patients bathe". Let me tell you about an incident I witnessed recently – two nurses who were out smoking came back and started WOUND CARE WITHOUT WASHING THERE HANDS!!! I have seen a central line dropped on the floor and then used, I have seen sterile sets used that expired 6 months before, I have seen surgeons so bad they were called the "Sepsis Twins". And isn't it ironic that nurses have a smoking rate and an obesity rate that is almost twice the general populace? I think maybe you need to pay more attention to the nurses and less to the patients/doctors/administrators/janitorial service/whoever the scapegoat of the day is. I have been in health care since probably before you were born and there isn't enough time in the day to list all of the things I have seen nurses do that are primary causes of infection.

      I have seen both sides and have reached max level on health care "professionals" talk about those obnoxious, uneducated sick people they are forced to care for. This is primarily about health care not enforcing existing rules, and treating their charges with careless disregard – and for that we need oversight.

      August 3, 2010 at 05:28 | Report abuse |
  36. Tracy

    I'm a nurse and I see people getting infections while in the hospital every day. A lot of it stems from visitors who are sick, getting patients AND their roommates and their visitors sick. People should not visit anyone in the hospital if they have so much as a sniffle- that cold could kill anyone with a decreased immune system. Unless the family member is dying, people should wait to visit them until they get home- they already are dealing with a lot of sleep interruptions, treatments, vital signs, therapy and medication visits, and they get next to NO rest while in the hospital.

    Yes, nurses and doctors are also partly to blame, going from "dirty" patient to "clean" patient, and infecting people. We are not off the hook. But I think restricting visitation while in hospital would really decrease the spread of new infections

    August 3, 2010 at 05:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Highland

    What about carpets in hospitals. Think about the germs tracked from outside and inside the hospital.

    August 3, 2010 at 05:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Mike

    Many of the problems at the hospitals can be attributed to not washing hands after going to the bathroom. Staph infection is the easiest thing that you can contract when you are at the hospital. Yes, your doctor, nurse and orderly can make you sick so make sure they wear latex gloves before they touch you.

    August 3, 2010 at 05:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Dennis

    I see only ICU and neonatal ICU nosocomial infections are being tracked, not general surgery. Seems odd that the vast majority of data will be lost in the more routine and thus lower-profile cases. Case in point: I had a simple vein-strip and got infected a foot away from the incision, went into shock and nearly died. My case was not in ICU and certainly not in neonatal and yet clearly nosocomial, so I will be overlooked as will most others.

    August 3, 2010 at 05:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RN

    If you have seen all this happen, what are YOU doing to help the situation? Isn't it your job to report these things somewhere besides a CNN article?? It is your responsibility to be an advocate for the patients.
    I am not denying that these things happen. I'm sure they do in some places. I am fortunate enough to work in a hospital where my coworkers and I genuinely care about the patients and families we care for. Even the "obnoxious uneducated ones".

    August 3, 2010 at 05:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Cat

    Stop all hospital employees from wearing scrubs and lab coats outside of the hospital when they go to lunch/meetings or to smoke. Have them change into scrubs when they arrive at work and not wear them from home. Lord only knows how many airborne germs are brought in on their clothes.

    August 3, 2010 at 07:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Roxanne Brendel

    Studies show that 'Process' alone (handwashing, maximal sterile barrier precautions, etc.) cannot sustain a zero hospital acquired infection rate. Hospital workers should also be using products that are clinically proven to help reduce infections, such as antimicrobial dressings and antibiotic impregnated catheters. There are a number of well-studied products available that do not cost any more. Why shouldn't we all do everything in our power....adopt innovative solutions.....to reach zero infections? Handwashing alone won't get us there.

    August 3, 2010 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Charles Kinder, M.D.

    The scientific proof that medical fabrics such as lab coats and scrubs can carry bacteria is overwhelming. I had a patient die of a hospital acquired infection 2 yrs ago and I decided to try to make a difference. I launched a self funded company one month ago http://www.Docfroc.com that sells antibacterial lab coats and scrubs. Our products have a silver impregnated coating that kills all the nasty bugs – MRSA, VRE, CDIFF, KLEBSIELLA etc – all this testing was done by an indep lab and is on our website. It is remarkable that most hospitals I present my product to only care about cost – they just want the lowest priced foreign made product that is not antibacterial. My product is made in the U.S.A. and after only one month we have given 4 U.S. citizens jobs – my margin is very small – I am not selling this product to quit practicing medicine – I am doing it because it is the right thing to do – we can wash our hands all day long but it is not practical to change our scrubs and lab coat after every patient encounter. If you come in for hip surgery and your nurse or doc is also taking care of a nursing home patient with pneumonia your doc or nurse may wash their hands after caring for that nursing home patient but they cannot change their clothes before coming in to your room and if bacteria gets on them and then gets on you.......why is it such a mystery when you get an MRSA wound infection 10 days later.....As a patient or payor would prefer a hospital that uses standard fabrics that we know can transmit bacteria or would you select a hospital that uses antibacterial clothing?

    August 3, 2010 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Marino

    I applaud the health care workers (doctors and nurses AND janitorial staff) that are doing their best to save lives. And I applaud the patients that respect their fellow human beings by taking a BATH, and throwing on some deodorant! Yes, there are pompous doctors, but aren't there pompous people every where? OK – hospitals are now being graded. It's time has come and the vitriol being spit out today will fade into the woodwork tomorrow.

    August 4, 2010 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Tim

    With the Miracle Mineral Solution we can easily destroy all infections, nothing can ever develop an immunity to it. Get the facts on this amazing weak oxidizer before the FDA bans its use! Chlorine DiOxide in diluted levels can be used to disinfect anything anywhere. The science is super simple. The formula is Sodium Chlorite (20% in H20) and citric acid (20-28% in H2O) the drop ratio at that mixture level is ONE Drop Sodium Chlorite to Five (5) drops citric acid... wait three minutes... then fill that glass with half cup of water, drink, wipe, treat. It is low oxidation strength of .95 volts. It breaks down into SALT/water, no build up, but it WORKS FAST.

    August 17, 2010 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. verhut98

    I do not agree

    Friendly, Vergie

    December 12, 2017 at 00:03 | Report abuse | Reply

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