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Missouri Governor Holden signs hospital infection reporting law

June 28, 2004

Consumers Union praises Governor Holden
Missouri hospital infection reporting bill signed into law today

ST. LOUIS, MO — Consumers Union hails Governor Holden’s approval of the Missouri Nosocomial Infection Control Act as a significant step toward improving the quality of care in the state’s hospitals. Senate Bill 1279, by Senator Sarah Steelman and Representatives Rob Schaaf and Sue Schoemehl, was signed into law this morning in their presence at the Metro Psychiatric Center in St. Louis. Several Missouri advocates who worked to pass the bill were also in attendance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hospital-acquired infections claim an estimated 90,000 lives each year and are a leading cause of death in the United States.
“When it comes to hospital infections, sunshine is the best disinfectant,” said Lisa McGiffert, Campaign Director of Consumers Union’s Stop Hospital Infections Campaign (www.StopHospitalInfections.org). “Once healthcare consumers are informed of how well their local hospital is controlling this deadly problem, hospitals will have a greater incentive to clean up their act.”
With the enactment of this new law, Missouri becomes a leader for the nation in responding to this long-standing problem. Prior to this year, only Illinois and Pennsylvania had specific laws on the books to collect and publicly report hospital-specific infection rates. This year, Florida also passed legislation to require public reporting of infection rates.
The CDC says that one in 20 patients get an infection while hospitalized. A single hospital infection is estimated to add $38,600 to the cost of medical care and as much as $58,000 for a serious bout with postoperative sepsis. “The cost in human lives of these mostly preventable infections is astounding. Add to that the financial cost to our healthcare system and you have an inexcusable situation,” McGiffert said. “Hats off to Missouri for taking this important step to improve patient safety.”
For more information contact: Lisa McGiffert, 512-477-4431 ext 115