State lawmakers target infection control in LTC

From NY to Hawaii, a call for action

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) is tracking a growing body of proposed state legislation related to infection prevention in long term care. A selection of state bills proposed this year include the following:

Hawaii: (HB 889) Introduced 1/26/2011. Bill would ensure that state HAI reporting requirements are consistent with federal regulations by requiring healthcare facilities that receive Medicare reimbursement, including long term care facilities, to report information about HAIs to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), and would authorize CDC to grant access to the data by the state Department of Health. (Passed both the House and Senate.)

Illinois: (HB 1096) Introduced 2/4/2011. Bill would require skilled nursing facilities to designate an Infection Prevention and Control Professional to develop and implement policies governing control of infections and communicable diseases. The designated professional would be qualified through education, training, experience, certification, or a combination of these factors. (Pending in House Human Services Committee.)

Kentucky (SB 72) Introduced 1/7/2011. Bill would require all healthcare facilities, including nursing homes, to implement an infection prevention program in intensive care, surgical, and other high-risk units, including strategies to prevent the spread of multidrug-resistant organisms. Facilities would report HAIs through NHSN or a similar data collection system and the health department would make the information publicly available. (Legislature adjourned without acting on legislation.)

Maine (LD 267) Introduced 2/1/2011. Bill would require all nursing homes and intermediate care facilities to perform MRSA screening on all patients upon admission. (Pending in Joint Committee on Health and Human Services.)

Massachusetts (HB 1469) Introduced 1/20/2011. Bill would require a variety of healthcare institutions, including nursing homes, to report their numbers of health care associated infections (HAIs) and medication errors as indicators of nursing care. The facilities would also be required to provide the same information upon request to patients or residents. (A hearing is scheduled before Joint Committee on Public Health on 9/20/2011.)

Nevada (SB 419) Introduced 3/28/2011. Bill would require that medical facility employees who are authorized to administer controlled substances receive annual training for safe injection practices.

New Jersey(A 3808) Introduced 2/17/2011. Bill would require nursing homes to report all incidents of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) to the Department of Health and Senior Services. (Pending in Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee)

New York(AB 4969) Introduced 2/9/2011. Bill would prohibit healthcare coverage plans, including Medicaid, from reimbursing for treatment of preventable hospital-acquired infections. (Pending in Assembly Health Committee.)

NY (AB 5576) Introduced 2/23/2011. Bill would amend state law to make it a crime for a healthcare provider to reuse a syringe when the action results in the infection of a patient with a communicable disease. (Pending in Assembly Codes Committee)

North Carolina(H 474) Introduced 3/24/2011. Bill would require all adult care homes to implement a written infection control policy. All adult care home medication aides would be required to receive training in infection control and safe injection practices. (Passed House 4/28/2011.)

NC (H 809) Introduced 4/6/2011. Bill would require healthcare facilities to report all HAI data to the state Department of Health and Human Services and the NHSN. The bill would also establish an HAI advisory committee, direct HHS to establish an HAI surveillance program, charge facilities a fee for implementation of the program, and require them to test patients for MRSA within 24 hours of admission in certain cases. (Pending in House Committee on Health and Human Services.)

Pennsylvania (SB 495) Introduced 2/11/2011. Bill would require the state Department of Health to publish a consumer guide on the nursing home performance of every nursing home in the state, which would include information on the number of deficiencies pertaining to infection control. (Pending in Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee.)