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June 16, 2005

Council supports bill to require hospitals to report incidences of hospital-acquired infections

The Business Council is part of a broad coalition of interest groups that developed legislation to require hospitals to track and report incidences of hospital patients contracting infections while hospitalized.

The Council and other interest groups have been working with the chairs of the legislative health committees, state Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Long Island) and state Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D Manhattan), to craft the bill (S.5086A/A.8698).

The goal of the legislation is “to advance patient safety and fairly portray the ongoing efforts of hospitals around the state to reduce hospital-acquired infections,” the coalition said in a June 15 news release.

The bill calls for tracking and reporting of infections that occur in hospitals’ critical-care units in three categories: surgical-site infections, infections associated with intravenous catheters, and pneumonia that occurs in patients on ventilators.

“This agreement represents a promising template for making relevant, and important, information available to employers and their workers who are increasingly striving to make value-driven health care choices,” said Elliott Shaw, the Council’s director of government affairs.

The Business Council strongly supported this initiative and others that would require the publication of information consumers can use to make informed health-care choices. For example, the Council endorsed a requirement that was part of the Health Care Reform Act of 1996 (HCRA) that the state Health Department publish “hospital report cards” to help consumers choose health-care institutions.

However, the state has never published any hospital report card.