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Mo. Senator Says Lobbyists Killed Hospital Oversight Bill

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CBS St. Louis (con't)

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KMOX) - The sponsor of a bill that would have required Missouri hospitals to tell the public more about their infection rates says his bill may have died a quiet death because of campaign money from the hospital industry.

Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, a physician, sponsored a bill that would have given consumers more timely information on hospital infections and expanded from two to five the number of surgical procedures that hospitals would be required to track for infections. The bill passed out of committee but never came up for debate on the full Senate floor.

“As it is, the hospital industry has too much power and so you’re just not going to get good public policy,” Schaaf said.

The Missouri Hospital Association gave $500,000 last year to Missouri politicians. That includes $11,500 to Health, Mental Health, Seniors and Families Committee Chairman Dan Brown, $17,000 to Senate Pro-Tem Tom Dempsey, and $7,000 to Ron Richards, the Missouri Senate’s Majority Floor Leader.

As for who in the Missouri Senate killed the bill, Schaaf says that can’t be determined.

“You can’t know exactly who did what because they won’t say,” he said. “Nothing happens by accident. Things happen for a reason.”

Schaff says his bill may have died for lack of time or in retribution for his opposition to a tax increase.

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