"Given these alarming statistics [for acquired infections], it is vital for consumers to have full knowledge of how medical facilities fare with infection rates. I believe the task force will come up with the appropriate way to address this issue."
- Sen. Gary Stevens
(Juneau) - Sen. Gary Stevens, (R-Kodiak), has introduced SJR 19 creating the Task Force to Assess Public Reporting of Healthcare-Associated Infections.
"Shockingly, some 2 million infections a year are acquired in hospitals and an estimated 90,000 people die as a result of these infections, making it the sixth-leading cause of death in the country. The cost to the consumers is also enormous between $4.5 and $11 billion a year. Given these alarming statistics, it is vital for consumers to have full knowledge of how medical facilities fare with infection rates. I believe the task force will come up with the appropriate way to address this issue," said Sen. Stevens.
If approved by the Legislature, the eleven-member panel will include two senators, two representatives, the Chief of Epidemiology for the State of Alaska, one healthcare consumer from rural Alaska, one healthcare consumer from urban Alaska, a representative of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, a representative from the Alaska Chapter of the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, and a representative of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association. The group will meet during the 2006 Legislative Interim to develop legislative recommendations for hospitals to disclose hospital acquired infection rates.
Sen. Stevens previously introduced SB 208 requiring hospitals to collect data and disclose reports of hospital-acquired infections. After discussing the bill with the Department of Public Health and the various health care providers from around the state, Sen. Stevens determined the task force would be the best approach to crafting legislation that effectively addresses Alaska's unique healthcare situation.
SJR 19 has been referred to the Senate Health, Education & Social Services Committee for consideration.
Please contact Doug Letch in Sen. Stevens Office at (907) 465.4925 for more information.