Federal and state governments are currently working to track infection and creating financial penalties which will withhold payments if hospital infections are found to be at cause of readmissions or if additional charges result. The point has been made very clear; hospital infections can often be prevented. Guidelines and standards are quickly being developed which will detail what needs to be done to prevent harm. The providers of healthcare in the United States have a responsibility to do whatever is in their ability to reduce risk of healthcare infections and harming the patient.
In 2012 the cost of healthcare, the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid have been constantly in the press. Preventable healthcare infections which add hundreds of millions of dollars to healthcare cost in the US and harm or kill thousands of patients each week continue to make the news.
A USA TODAY investigation shows that C. diff is far more prevalent than federal reports suggest. The bacteria is linked in hospital records to more than 30,000 deaths a year in the United States— about twice federal estimates and rivaling the 32,000 killed in traffic accidents. It strikes about a half-million Americans a year.
Yet despite a decade of rising C. diff rates, health care providers and the government agencies that oversee them have been slow to adopt proven strategies to reduce the infections, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and illnesses that could have been prevented, the investigation shows.
"People are dying needlessly,"
Emax Health recently reported.
"Poor catheter management is the single biggest cause of hospital-acquired infection in the world, with more than half a million infections every year," says Dr. Craig Lockwood, Director of Translation Science at the Joanna Briggs Institute. "These infections can have a devastating impact on patients. Even if they survive the infection, the result for patients can be drawn out and painful, with recurring infections that affect their overall recovery, and an enormous cost to the healthcare system because of extended hospital stays.”
The threat of hepatitis C has made national news. New Hampshire public health officials now suspect a drug-abusing hospital employee spread hepatitis C to patients at Exeter Hospital by swapping sterile needles with contaminated ones.
So far, 20 people have tested positive for the same strain of the harmful virus – including a hospital employee. All infected patients had been treated in the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab, which performs heart procedures and other surgeries.
The CDC reported 13 outbreaks of hepatitis C related to health care between 2008 and
2011. Many episodes involved double-dipping syringes into drug vials used for multiple patients.
A recent article pointed to over worked, stressed out nurses as a contributor to hospital infections. Infection related to medical products used in surgery are also are making the news with issues with dyes used in eye surgery and implants used in rhinoplasty. The issue of healthcare associated infections is now being addressed by Consumer Reports magazine which is reporting and tracking infection rates at hospitals nationwide.
Ralph Nadar reported discussed the issue on his web site Nadar.org, Every week, two thousand Americans, or about 100,000 men, women and children a year, die from mostly preventable hospital-borne infections in the United States. Some hospitals are cutting their hospital-induced infection rates by the disciplined checklists, getting tough on physicians and nurses washing their hands and general sanitation crackdowns. This more rigorous application of medicine’s famous injunction “do no harm” must be applied faster, deeper and more regularly in all hospitals and clinics.
Healthcare Infection llc. through it website http://www.healthcareinfection.com provides information for patients and patients families about hospital infections. Details about the specific types of healthcare associated infections, what can be done by the healthcare facilities to prevent infections and how to find facilities where patient risk of infection is lower.