Pennsylvania hospital infection bill headed for approval

Under a bill passed by the Pennsylvania legislature, the state's hospitals and nursing homes will be forced to report infections to state authorities within 24 hours, as well as take measures to cut future episodes of such infections. The bill, which awaits the signature of Gov. Ed Rendell (D), is part of a larger package of reforms put together by Rendell intended to help cut the state's healthcare costs, and ultimately, reduce insurance premiums.

Under the terms of the measure, some, though not all, hospitals will be required to install an electronic monitoring system by 2009 which will check lab, pharmacy and radiology reports on patients to screen for potential infections. About a third of the state's hospitals already have such systems in place. In addition, hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and nursing homes will be required to develop an infection control system which meets state standards.

The one bright spot in this otherwise stressful set of requirements is that the state plans to pay bonuses to facilities that reduce infections 10 percent year over year.

To find out more about the bill:
- read this article from The Associated Press

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