MRSA Cases Drop After Facilities Agree to Self Report

Sarah Kearns, for HealthLeaders Media , August 10, 2009

A recent study shows the number of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections found in patients located at 13 New Mexico hospitals and three state clinics was cut almost in half after the facilities agreed to self report cases.

Last year, the facilities reported 44 cases of MRSA, but after agreeing to self report the cases, the MRSA infections dropped to 27 cases. This reduction was a result of simple medical measures, such as handwashing, nasal swab tests, and segregating the infected.

According to, mandatory infection reporting has been opposed by New Mexico's medical community, and since 2005, seven bills have been proposed and turned down by the New Mexico legislature.

The study, the New Mexico MRSA Collaborative, was conducted by Susan Kellie, a hospital epidemiologist for the University of New Mexico Hospital and the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical System. Kellie's study shows that reporting is a key component that guarantees best practices and helps contain or reduce deadly infections.

Kathy Mosley, BSN, CPMSM, CPCS, medical staff PI coordinator at Northern Mjavajo Medical Center in Shiprock, NM, has had discussions with her facilities' own infection preventionist to address varying opinions within her own hospital regarding mandatory infection reporting.

"My own opinion is that data can be reported and collected, but the key [question] is what is being done with the collected data," says Mosley. "The outcome of the information many times is lost or is not received by the users who can make a change or make a difference in care."

Even without mandatory reporting, Mosley has seen positive outcomes from the CMS measures.

"The positive outcome I have witnessed from mandatory reporting, such as the CMS measures, is an increase in awareness and effort amongst the staff when they are included in the sharing of information, and given an opportunity for input," says Mosley. "When they become involved, the collected data becomes meaningful and change occurs."

Sarah Kearns is an editor for HCPro in the Quality and Patient Safety Group. Contact Sarah at

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