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APIC, SHEA Seek to Block Infection Disclosure Rules in CA

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 8, 2011

For many of the surgical procedures for which patient characteristics would be required to be fully documented, there are extremely few resulting infections at any one hospital.

A San Francisco Superior Court judge declined the plaintiffs' request for an immediate temporary restraining order late last month but agreed to hear arguments on the case June 22. Ralph Montano, spokesman for the CDPH, had no comment. The lawmaker who sponsored the bill, Sen. Elaine Alquist, D-Santa Clara, did not return calls requesting comment.

Alquist named the statute "Niles Law" after the death of 15-year-old Niles Calvin Moss in 2006 because of a hospital acquired infection with a strain of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.

Rogers says that the CHA supports the state law, but that state officials issuing the requirements included far more surgical procedures than the original law intended.

According to the law, "each health facility shall report quarterly to the department all health-care associated surgical site infections of deep or organ space surgical sites, health-care associated infections of orthopedic surgical sites, cardiac surgical sites, and gastrointestinal surgical sites designated as clean and clean-contaminated, and the number of surgeries involving deep or organ space, and orthopedic, cardiac, and gastrointestinal surgeries designated clean and clean contaminated."

On March 11, CDPH acting deputy director Pam Dickfoss sent hospitals a rule saying they must report surgical site infections for two procedures, hip arthroplasty and heart revascularization procedures, and could choose two others from a list of 14. But on April 27, she sent a correction document that expanded the list to 29 procedures.

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