Hospitals in Kentucky would be required to report all infections acquired by patients during their stay in the facility to state offi cials under a bill pending in the Kentucky General Assembly.
Senate Bill 72, filed last week by Sen. Denise Harper Angel, D-Louisville, would also require all hospitals to implement infection prevention programs.
Harper Angel told the Lexington Herald-Leader that the cost of infections acquired during hospital stays is staggering, with more needing to be done to protect patients’ health and save both patients and the health care system money.
Kentucky’s hospitals strongly oppose the measure. Kentucky Hospital Association Vice President Nancy C. Galvagni said the measure duplicates a requirement by the federal government. Galvagni said adding another system of reporting would be burdensome.
“There is no need for a new state mandate which would only add additional, unneeded costs on Kentucky’s hospitals and state government,” Galvagni said.
Harper Angel and backers of the measure said the federal reporting requirements have not stopped hospital- acquired infections.
Some say there could be as many as 1,400 deaths from hospital-acquired infections a year in Kentucky.
“Whatever is out there right now, is not working,” Harper Angel said. “ This appears to be out of control.”
Health care-associated infections are acquired while a patient is in a hospital and gets an infection not related to the reason the person is in the hospital. Some common types of hospital-acquired infections are urinary tract infections caused by catheters, pneumonia caused by ventilators and surgical wound infections.
The bill would require hospitals send all data on hospital- acquired infections to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The reporting system would go into effect on July 1, 2012. Hospitals would also have to implement infection prevention programs for acute care areas such as surgical and intensive care units.
Facilities that fail to report will first get a citation but will be fined up to $1,000 a day for a second violation in six months and a fine of $20,000 for three or more violations within six months.
Dr. Kevin Kavanagh of Somerset said 27 states require some form of reporting of hospital- acquired infections and Kentucky should too.