ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — Missouri hospitals would be forced to release to the public more information on their infection rates, and more quickly, under a bill moving through the legislature.
Since January, KMOX has been requesting the 2012 hospital infection data from the Missouri Department of Health. But so far, despite a request under the Missouri Sunshine Law, we have only received an email saying they’re “working on it.”
Republican State Senator and Physician Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph, who co-authored a 2004 bill calling for the information be made available to consumers, says his latest bill would force a more timely release of the data.
“Waiting a year is just outrageous,” Schaaf said, “My bill would say they have to do it quarterly.”
Last week, St. Louis attorney Ray Wagner, whose son Ray the Third almost lost an arm to a hospital-acquired infection, told KMOX the original intent of the 2004 law named after his son, “Raymond’s law,” says the original intent of the law is not being followed “in spirit or letter.”
Schaaf’s bill would require the data be sent directly to the Missouri Department of Health, rather than going first to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, and then to consumers over a year later.
Schaaf’s new bill would also expand from two to five the number of surgical procedures that hospitals track for related infections.
“The other thing that we did was we asked the hospitals to report the total number of people in isolation from infections and track that from week to week,” Schaaf said, “If that were on the internet and you saw a big spike, well that might be a clue not to go there.”
Schaaf says the Missouri Hospital Association is “quite upset” that his bill was voted out of committee, and is moving to quash the legislation.
“They really have gone out of their way to avoid transparency in the market place, and this is one form of transparency,” Schaaf said.
In order for the bill to pass before the session ends in May, it would have to be taken up on the floor of the Senate, voted out, go over the House and be voted out over there.
Schaaf is urging voters to call their legislators and encourage them to pass the bill.
“You might have a family member intending to go into the hospital for an elective surgery,” Schaaf said, “and this would give your family member some information that might save their life.”
The bill to toughen reporting standards for hospital infections is identified as Senate Bill 259.