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UPDATED House votes unanimously to pass hospital-infection reporting bill; changes are proposed in Senate

Post by Brad Shannon / The Olympian on March 11, 2013 at 8:36 pm with No Comments »
March 12, 2013 6:04 pm

Rep. Marcus Riccelli

Updated to clarify the status of the House and Senate versions of the legislation.

A bill updating Washington law requiring hospitals to report infections acquired by patients during care sailed through the state House on a 98-to-0 vote Monday evening. House Bill 1471 has been criticized by Consumers Union for dropping mandatory reporting for three types of infections that were in the original 2007 law, which advocates won passage for despite hospitals’ resistance.

The House measure, which was sponsored by freshman Democratic Rep. Marcus Riccelli of Spokane, now moves to the Senate where similar legislation cleared health-care committees and is awaiting a vote. The bill is needed to align the state reporting requirements with Obamacare, and it broadens some reporting to make it hospital-wide. But its omission of infection reporting for hip, knee and cardiac  procedures has drawn strong objections from Consumers Union.

Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports, had fought to get Washington’s original law passed in 2007, which was authored by a former state representative, Tom Campbell, a Republican from Roy. That law immediately put Washington in the forefront of states along with Pennsylvania and New York.

After Consumers Union weighed in, Republican Sen. Randi Becker of Eatonville said she would add an amendment to cover those procedures on the Senate bill she had heard in committee. And freshman Democratic Sen. Nathan Schlicher of Gig Harbor, who sponsored Senate Bill 5415, said he would agree to amend the measure if the additional reporting requirement would expire in three or four years.
SB 5415 was still awaiting a Senate floor vote early Tuesday evening.

The Washington State Hospital Association supported the original House and Senate bills but opposes amendments to add back the three procedures, arguing that there are limited hospital resources and the three procedures do not have significant infection rates.

Our story about the hospital infection reporting issue is here.

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