House gives final okay to hospital transparency bill

The Missouri House of Representatives Thursday gave final approval to legislation that requires the state Department of Health and Senior Services to update its list of communicable or infectious diseases that must be reported by hospitals and ambulatory care centers.

House Bill 1855, sponsored by Rep. Sue Allen (R-Town and Country), is the first update for the reports first mandated in 2004. The Senate companion bill, Senate Bill 579, sponsored by Sen. Rob Schaaf, has already cleared the Senate and is awaiting action in a House committee. Associated Industries of Missouri supports transparency in the medical industry.

Currently, the department is required to disseminate reports to the public based on data compiled showing infection incidence rates for certain infections for hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers. The bill adds other infections to be reported, including: hospital and ambulatory surgical center procedure infections that meet certain requirements, central line-related bloodstream infections, health care-associated infections specified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and other categories of infections established by the department through rule. The department must make such reports available to the public for at least two years.

“We are responding to what bacteria are doing,” said Rep. Keith Frederick (R-Rolla). “In some cases they are outsmarting us. This bill will also allow us to (monitor) new bacteria.”

1-in-25 hospital patients will develop some form of hospital-derived infection. These infections are very costly to the insurer and any employer providing health insurance, as well as a huge cost to workers compensation and health insurance paid for by the state.

House Bill 1855 passed the House by a 150-3 margin. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.