Thursday, June 10, 2010

Good News, Bad News For Healthcare Acquired Infections

On the heels of last week's encouraging report that hospital acquired infections (HAI's), especially blood stream infections, are decreasing, comes the not so good news that infection control practices in many Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC's) are substandard. In a study of ASC's in three states, two thirds showed lapses in infection control practices that put patients at higher risks.

The proliferation of these centers driven by financial incentives to the investors, has caused a significant number of minor surgeries to move from hospital settings to freestanding centers. In many cases these centers provide a greater level of convenience for the patients and sometimes cheaper out of pocket expenses. Meanwhile physicians enjoy more productive days because of faster turnaround times as well a generous return on their investment. This is all well and good as long as patient safety is given the same priority as hospital based surgical centers and quality measures are not compromised.

In light of this study, Kathleen Sebelius was quick to respond with the HHS Action Plan To Prevent Healthcare Associated Infections. She stated that ensuring the safety of patients in all healthcare settings was the top priority for HHS. That's why $50 million dollars in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is being allocated to prevent HAI's. Of that, $10 million will be spent on improved processes and increased frequency of inspections for ASC's. Also the Affordable Healthcare Act calls for improvements in healthcare quality and reduced HAI's. Further, she states that just because procedures are being done outside the hospital setting does not mean that patient safety standards and infection control measures are any less important.

I applaud the HHS Secretary for her strong stand and fully support her efforts to demand compliance from freestanding surgery centers, not just because it keeps a level playing field with hospitals but most importantly because it maintains protection for our patients.

More on this later.

Mark Brodeur

1 comment:

  1. It is good to see that proactive measures are being taken towards this epidemic, as in the case of this TED talk regarding Hospital acquired infections


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