California hospitals are preparing to comply with two new infection control laws that go into effect on January 1, 2009, reports The Sacramento Bee. Both laws do more to prevent the spread of methicillin-resistant staph aureus (MRSA). Beginning Thursday January 8, legislation will be phased in requiring all 400 hospitals in the state to implement tougher infection control practices to stem outbreaks. Senate Bill 1058 by Sen. Elaine Alquist, D-Santa Clara, will require hospitals to publicly disclose their infection rates and screen certain high-risk patients for MRSA. Senate Bill 158 by Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, gives the Department of Health Services additional authority to investigate infection outbreaks and complaints about lax infection control practices.
Currently, 9,600 of the 100,000 patients who die of hospital infection each year are located in California hospitals, says the Department of Health Services. The legislation was supported by employers, who saw that their healthcare costs were rising due to the $3 billion per year paid in healthcare bills for hospital infections. The federal centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 2 million patients contract an infection in hospitals every year and nearly 100,000 of them die. As many as 9,600 of those deaths occur in California, according to the state Department of Health Services.
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