APIC, IDSA, SHEA Develop Model Legislation on Public Reporting of Healthcare-Associated Infections

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), released model legislation to assist patient safety initiatives by giving state legislatures a template to use when adopting legislation for the collection and reporting of healthcare-associated infection rates.

Our organizations recognize the challenges to the states of public reporting, said Michael L. Tapper, MD, chair of SHEAs Public Policy and Governmental Affairs Committee. Sound science and appropriate methodologies are integral to states successful institution of reporting requirements. APIC, IDSA, and SHEA have worked together to provide a comprehensive document based on these principles.

"Currently, there is no uniform national standard for surveillance of healthcare-associated infections or standardized systems for collecting and reporting these infections when they occur," said APIC president Kathleen Meehan Arias, MS, MT, SM, CIC. "For the first time, states are armed with a tool to help craft legislation that will result in useful data by which facilities can benchmark their performance."

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are a major public health problem in the United States, and are thought to be responsible for increasing mortality and morbidity, adding millions of dollars in healthcare expenditures by states and their taxpayers.

"It has been estimated that in the United States, HAIs account for 2 million infections and $4.5 billion  in excess healthcare costs each year," added Arias.

The new model legislation was developed in response to a growing trend. At least six states -- Florida, Illinois, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia -- now have laws mandating public reporting of infection rates, and one state, Nevada, mandates reporting infection rates to the state government. Similar proposals have been introduced in about 20 other states.

States need a good model on which to base their systems, said IDSA president Martin J. Blaser, MD. Its important that public reporting be done in a way that allows people to discern what the data actually mean, andjust as importantlyhow the data can be used to prevent infections and improve patient care.

The model legislation aims to ensure that state reporting systems adhere to recommended practices that have been shown to reduce the risk of HAIs, protect the confidentiality of medical records, and reflect the fact that some institutions treat more seriously ill patients.

People should be able to use this information to measure how well institutions perform. The model legislation makes certain that state reporting systems are based on reliable data, said SHEA president Trish M. Perl, MD, MSc.

To access a copy of the model legislation, go to: http://www.shea-online.org/Assets/files/Model_Legislation_-_APIC__IDSA__SHEA.pdf

APIC is a multi-disciplinary voluntary international health organization with more than 10,000 members, whose primary responsibility is infection prevention and control and epidemiology. APIC's mission is to improve health and promote patient and employee safety by reducing risks of infection and related adverse outcomes.

IDSA is an organization of physicians, scientists, and other healthcare professionals dedicated to promoting health through excellence in infectious diseases research, education, prevention, and patient care. The Society, which has 8,000 members, is based in Alexandria, VA..

SHEA, comprised of more than 1,200 physicians, infection control practitioners, and other healthcare professionals, is dedicated to maintaining the utmost quality of patient care and healthcare worker safety in all healthcare settings. It upholds its high success rate in infection control and prevention, while applying epidemiologic principles and prevention strategies to a wide range of quality-of-care issues.

Source: APIC