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HOUSE APPROVES BILL TO REDUCE HOSPITAL INFECTIONS
AUSTIN -- The Texas House of Representatives today tentatively approved SB 288 by State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, requiring hospitals and other health care facilities to report what is known as "acquired infections," which occurs when a patient acquires a new infection while seeking treatment.
"When a patient seeks treatment at a hospital or clinic, they are obviously going to come in contact with others who are ill. The goal of this bill is to ensure that we are taking precautions to minimize a patient's exposure to other illnesses," Senator Nelson said. "Consumers will be able to see for themselves which hospitals are doing the best job in this regard."
According to Centers for Disease Control, each year associated infections strike more than 2 million patients, result in nearly 90,000 deaths and cost nearly $5 billion excess health costs. Last session the Legislature empanelled a group of experts to study and make recommendations on a reporting framework to track these infections (SB 872 79R). Those recommendations are reflected in SB 288, which:
- Creates the Texas Health Care Associated Infection Reporting System;
- Requires certain health care facilities, at least quarterly, to submit patient-level infection data to the Department of State Health Services, and aggregate infection rates to be disclosed annually to the general public;
- Retains confidentiality standards for reporting information and patient information;
- Requires the DSHS to conduct training; and
- Authorizes the development of a permanent Health Care Associated Infections Panel to guide the implementation, development and evaluation of the public reporting system.
Legislative rules are complicated, but passing the House on second reading is a major hurdle. There are three more steps before the bill can become law: passing the House on third reading, the Senate concurring with House amendments, and then action from the governor to sign, veto or allow the bill to become law without his signature.
Senator Nelson represents District 12, which includes several communities in Tarrant and Denton counties.