GAO: 23 states require hospitals to publicly report on infections

Twenty-three states require hospitals to publicly report on health care-associated infections, including three that collect data on methicillin-resistant staph infections, according to a report released today by the Government Accountability Office. In the report, GAO notes that most states focus on a few measures developed or endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and use the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network to collect data.

The American Hospital Association, in comments to GAO included in the report , expressed concern that the HAI data collected through NHSN does not provide a valid comparative assessment of hospital performance because the data submitted are not validated and hospitals vary in how they collect it. GAO also reviewed 14 diverse hospitals and health systems with MRSA reduction initiatives. All of them routinely tested for MRSA, but used varying testing methods, tested different patient populations, and needed varying levels of funding and staff to implement their initiatives.

(SOURCE: AHA News Now, http://ahanews.com , October 2, 2008).