After studying the problem at length, officials with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) are planning to ask the state's hospitals to publicly disclose their inpatient infection rates. To kick off the effort, the state is spending $1 million researching the scope of the problem, hiring a panel of 50 experts to survey the state's hospitals as to their current infection rates and prevention strategies. By June the team, which has surveyed 73 hospitals so far, expects to offer a plan on making infection rates public, as well as a proposal for cutting down on such infections. If the recommendations go through, Massachusetts would be only the second state offering routine hospital infection rates reports, after Pennsylvania.
So far, the DPH hasn't issued a set of standards for infection reporting, something which concerns hospital executives. Public health officials, for their part, say they don't want to create standards prematurely, given the complexity of the problem. In the mean time, however, the initiative may be taken out of their hands, as there's at least one bill pending in the state legislature which would make infection rate reporting mandatory.
To get more information on the DPH recommendations:
- read this Boston Herald report