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2 posts from January 2014


What's Being Done in the Clinical Practice Setting to Reduce the Spread of Infection: A Conversation with Anthony Harris (January 23rd)

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(This podcast is a companion to the November 13th interview with Infectious Diseases Society of America's Amanda Jezek.)  

As previously noted, conservative estimates show hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) alone sicken two million Americans, directly kill 23,000 and contribute to a total of 100,000 deaths each year.  The bacterial infection C. diff (Clostridium difficile) alone causes 250,000 people to be hospitalized annually.  The US has some one of the highest infection resistant rates among developed countries and within the US infection rates are highly variable.     

During this 25 minute conversation Dr. Anthony Harris discusses why comparatively US infection resistance rates are high, why hand hygiene compliance rates remain persistently high (despite the fact hand contamination contributes substantially the the spread of infections), what acute care providers can do to reduce infections, what activites SHEA is pursuing to help reduce infection rates and what more can be done nationally, specifically regarding quality metrics, to lower rates. 

Dr. Anthony Harris is currently a Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University A43905edf18048cca1e1a88d4c95a00c[1]of Maryland's School of Medicine and is the President-Elect of SHEA.  His research interests include emerging pathogens, antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, hospital epidemiology/infection control, epidemiologic methods in infectious diseases and medical informatics.  He has published over 100 research papers and currently receives funding from the NIH, CDC and AHRQ to study antibiotic resistant infections and hospital epidemiology.  Dr. Harris received his medical degree from McGill Univesity and his MPH from Harvard. 

For information on SHEA's compendium of strategies to prevent health care associated infections see:  http://www.shea-online.org/HAITopics/CompendiumofStrategiestoPreventHAIs.aspx

For information on SHEA's research network of 200 hospitals see:  http://www.shea-online.org/Research/SHEAResearchNetwork/SRNStudiesandResources.aspx


Will An Emergency Room Really Treat Everyone Regardless of Their Ability to Pay?: A Conversation with Sara Rosenbaum (January 16, 2014)

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 The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) was passed in 1986 under the Reagan administration to help prevent patient dumping.  The law requires hospitals to provide emergency medical treatment to anyone regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay.  In recent years however hospitals have begun to impose upfront emergency room fees.  Today approximately half of all hospitals do so.  Hospital executives claim these fees reduce ER overcrowding by diverting patients with non-emergency needs.  Patient advocates claim the fees undermine EMTALA's intent and causes patients' health conditions to worsen.  For example, in 2011 one large national hospital chain saw 80,000 patients leave their emergency rooms untreated when faced with a $150 use fee.  

During this 17 minute podcast Professor Rosenbaum explains what generally EMTALA requires, when ER fees can be legally solicted or collected, the negative effects of fee collection, she questions the legitimacy of the industry's argument that fees help to encourage more appropriate site of care use and what can be done to provide better oversight and enforcement of EMTALA.     

Professor Sara Rosenbaum is the Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy and Founding Chair of the Department of Health Policy at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.  Professor Rosenbaum is best known for her work on the Sara%20Rosenbaum%20Color%20Pic[1]expansion of Medicaid and community health centers, patients' rights in managed care, civil rights and health care, and national health reform.  She is the lead author of Law and the American Health Care System, a landmark textbook that provides an in-depth exploration of the interaction of American law and the U.S. health care system.  She has received numerous national awards for her work, serves on governmental advisory committees, private organizational and foundation boards, and is a past Chair of AcademyHealth. She is a member of the CDC Director's Advisory Committee, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice and a Commissioner on the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC).  She received her BA from Wesleyan and her JD from Boston University.