JEFFERSON CITY - Representatives serving on the House Health and Mental Health Policy committee heard testimony on a bill that would change current law that determines when the Department of Health is required to make records regarding the rate of infections public.
House Staff Member Chris Dunn is working with bill sponsor Rep. Sue Allen, R-St. Louis County. He said Allen reported a statistic in the hearing that requires the attention this bill provides.
"I think [Allen] said about 75,000 people a year die from a hospital acquired infection," Dunn said. "And hospitals don't want that to get out, and I'm not trying to beat up hospitals, but they don't want that to get out. If you find out that a hospital isn't doing a good job with preventing infections, you won't go to that hospital. If you don't go to that hospital, they lose money."
The bill includes provisions that detail which types of infections require reporting. The bill would expand the list of infections that require reporting to include those associated with c-section and vaginal birth, hip and knee replacements and hysterectomies including abdominal, vaginal, and laparoscopic.
Ventilator associated events and central-line related bloodstream infections must also be reported.
The bill also calls for establishing standards for the use of antibiotics by the Health Department.
Committee Chair Rep. Keith Frederick, R-Rolla, said too many people have access to antibiotics.
"If you look at the big global problem is probably ten percent hospital administered antibiotics and ninety percent community demand for antibiotics, anybody that's been involved in medical practice, you know what Rep. Kirkton just said, is a daily occurrence," Frederick said. "You know, I just want the antibiotics just in case it's bacterial. I don't care if it's a virus. I just want it in case it's bacterial."
Dunn said current Missouri law isn't as strong as it could be.
"The standards Missouri has in place today aren't strong enough to help the public make a good decision about where they should be treated or where they should go to have their surgeries," Dunn said.