California Laws on Infection Control, Reporting Have Yet to Produce Real Improvements

Infection control legislation passed in 2006 and 2008 by California lawmakers have yet to yield real improvements, and some of the infection control regulations have even yet to materialize, according to a Sacramento Bee news report.

The state Department of Public Health says lack of funding and resources has made it hard to follow through with many of the rules under the regulation, while critics of the legislation say hospitals "have too much control" over the department's infection control program, according to the news report.

Among some of the legislation that has failed to materialize are the following:

·    The state department has yet to create enforcement rules for the 2006 and 2008 legislation, and they are not expected to be released for another 18-24 months.
·    Under the 2006 legislation, hospitals are required to establish infection control programs and report. However, the department did not create surveys that determine whether hospitals met that requirement until 2010.
·    Under the 2008 legislation, hospitals must publicly report quality data. The department's first release of its collection of data five months ago was "so flawed" that the department's director warned consumers not to use the data.

Howard Backer, MD, the interim director of the state department, released a statement, saying, "The Department's Healthcare Associated Infections program has made significant progress in implementing California's broad public reporting requirements, which are the most stringent in the nation."

The department had decided to throw out two years of surgical data without publishing it, but that decision was overturned. The California Hospital Association then went to a Supreme Court judge to temporarily block the surgical reporting requirement, citing lack of guidance for hospitals and department hearings. The Supreme Court judge has set a court date of June 22 to hear arguments, according to the news report.

Read the news report about infection control laws in California.

Related Articles on Infection Control Legislation:
Montana Patient Safety Act Awaits Governor's Signature
Making Patient Safety Initiatives Profitable
Oregon Physician Assistants Challenge Licensure Process for Practicing Capacity

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