The following outline is intended to help state lawmakers as they draft legislation to provide the public with hospital infection rates: AN ACT to provide the public with information on infection rates at hospitals in the state of _____________.
Section 1. Definitions.
(a) The public health law is amended to add a new section (lawmakers here should include the specific title of the public health or health department law to be amended).
(b) "Hospital" shall mean (lawmakers here should consider whether to include only acute care hospitals or also free-standing outpatient surgical centers).
(c) "Hospital-acquired infection" shall mean, as defined by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "any localized or systemic condition resulting from an adverse reaction to the presence of an infectious agent(s) or its toxin(s) that (a) occurs in a patient in a hospital, (b) and was found not to be present or incubating at the time of admission to the hospital, unless (c) the infection was related to a previous admission to the same hospital."
(d) "Risk adjustment" shall mean a statistical procedure for comparing patient outcomes, taking into account the differences in patient populations, including risk factors such as the number of patients on central line catheters, or the number of patients undergoing specific types of surgery, as a percentage of the overall number of patients treated. For purposes of this bill, risk adjustment shall duplicate the CDC’s NNIS System surgical wound infection risk index or use the number of central-catheter days as a risk-adjustment factor for central line infections.
(a) Using established public health surveillance methods, each hospital shall maintain a program of identifying and tracking the following types of hospital-acquired infections for the purpose of reporting such data semi-annually to the state health department (lawmakers insert the appropriate state department here): central line-associated, laboratory confirmed primary bloodstream infections contracted by intensive care unit patients, and surgical site infections.
(b) The state health department (lawmakers insert the appropriate department name here) shall establish an advisory committee that includes recognized experts in the field of hospital-acquired infection, public reporting of hospital data, and health care quality management to establish data collection and analysis methodologies and risk adjustment procedures.
(c) The state health department (lawmakers insert the appropriate department name here) shall establish a state-wide database of all risk-adjusted, hospitals-pecific infection rates and make it available to the public on a website and in printed materials that can be used by consumers, purchasers of healthcare, and advocacy groups to compare the performance of individual hospitals, and the aggregate performance of hospitals in the state with those in other states and nationwide.
(d) The first year of data submission under this section shall be considered the "pilot phase" of the reporting system. The pilot phase is to ensure the completeness and accuracy of hospital reporting and the fairness and completeness of the state health department’s report to the public. During this pilot phase, hospital identifiers shall be encrypted, the state health department (lawmakers insert proper department name here) shall provide each hospital with an encryption key for that hospital only, and no public hospital comparisons will be available. Sixty days after the end of the second year of data submission, the state health department (appropriate department name here) will provide its first report to the public with hospital-specific infection rates included.
(e) To ensure compliance with this law and the accuracy of self-reporting by the hospitals, the department shall establish an audit process. A civil penalty of $__________ shall be imposed on any hospital that fails to report on time, or is shown to substantially underreport infections, for each semi-annual reporting period.
(f) None of the data collected and reported under this law can be used in litigation against an individual hospital.