HHS infection guidelines not enough, execs say

Recently, HHS announced a new infection control plan calling for more collaboration between agencies within its purview on infection surveillance. The plan focuses on three common hospital-acquired infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central-line blood stream infections and surgical -site infections, for which CMS will no longer pay. It also addresses ventilator-associated pneumonia.

HHS's got decent reviews--after all, cooperation is generally a good thing--but it hasn't excited some industry executives much. A new set of infection control guidelines is fine, but doesn't add much to what they already have, given the wide range of efforts under way by Premier, the Joint Commission and even state governments. It will take more direct action to help hospitals prepare for CMS's new reimbursement policy, they say. For one thing, hospital industry execs note that hospital governance boards will have to get involved if the industry is going to develop an effective response.

Others, however, say the federal government is doing the right thing. The federal government can provide help in targeted areas, especially standardized infection definitions and added research around evidence-based HAI control, notes Daniel Varga, chief medical officer at St. Louis-based SSM Health Care.

To learn more about this debate:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece

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