Safe Patient Project and

January 21, 2010 10:32 pm Published by

Saving nearly 100,000 American lives and up to $45 billion each year can be as simple as getting hospitals to take the necessary steps to prevent the spread of deadly infections among their patients. You have the opportunity right now to give hospitals the incentive to prevent these infections by requiring them to publicly report their infection rates, and to make the hospital — not the patient or taxpayer — pay for care needed to treat a hospital-acquired infection. These common-sense incentives will go a long way to helping end unnecessary hospital-acquired infections in our country, and I urge you to support them in any healthcare legislation. These incentives are proven to work. Already 27 states have passed laws requiring hospitals to report their infection rates to the public. You can use the best models–Pennsylvania comes to mind–as the basis of a national reporting law. People in every state should be able to compare how their local hospitals perform in the prevention of infection, and know that their hospitals are being held accountable for providing the safest care possible. And many states (as well as Medicare) are now requiring hospitals to foot the bill for the treatment of patients who get certain preventable infections while under hospital care. This is another powerful incentive to get hospitals to take the needed step to prevent the spread of infections, such as hand-washing between patients and isolation. All Americans, no matter where we live, should be confident that we won’t catch a new and potentially deadly infection when we enter a hospital for surgery or illness. If nearly 100,000 people died every year from faulty jet engines or preventable car accidents, there would be a strong and immediate federal response. I expect that same strong and immediate response on this. Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman Assistant Professor Columbia University Associate Professor NYU Please support these practical incentives to help end preventable hospital-acquired infections in our nation, and give me and my family the safest medical care possible.

I just sent a quick message to my federal lawmakers urging them to pass common sense reforms to stop hospital acquired infections. Hospitals should bear the cost to treat you for preventable infections you acquired during your stay. And hospitals should report out their infection rates so you can shop and compare. I hope you will join me in this action. Consumers Union has made it easy. There’s a special tool where you can look at infection rates for our own local hospitals on their dedicated site and you can learn more about the problem as well. Thank you!

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This post was written by Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman