States Consider Requiring Hospitals to Screen for MRSA

Source: Kevin B. O’Reilly, AMNews, February 16, 2009

As the drug-resistant staph rate grows, lawmakers call for a more aggressive response. But doctors question mandates.

The rate of patients entering the hospital with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus increased eightfold between 1999 and 2006. Politicians in statehouses around the country say hospitals need to take a more active approach to stopping MRSA’s spread.

Since 2007, four states — California, Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania — have enacted laws requiring hospitals to screen high-risk patients for MRSA infection or colonization and follow precautions to prevent other patients from becoming infected. Eight states considered similar legislation last year, and as of late January, new bills had been filed in Washington and Kentucky.

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