On March 21, 2005, the Virginia General Assembly approved House Bill 1570 that amended the Code of Virginia (by adding § 32.1-35.1) to make information on selected nosocomial (i.e., healthcare-associated) infections reportable to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s surveillance system, the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). The Code required that the infection data be released to the public upon request and further directed the Board of Health to develop regulations that specify the infections to be reported and the patient populations to be included.
After significant consultation with stakeholders to determine the kind of data that would be both reliable and useful, the Regulations for Disease Reporting and Control were amended to add a section (12VAC5-90-370) related to healthcare-associated infections. The regulations provide details on the definitions and procedures to be used, specifying that acute care hospitals shall collect and report data on central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) in adult intensive care units, effective July 2008. Infection data are aggregated to ensure that no individual patient may be identified. Reports are posted to the VDH website so that hospitals, healthcare providers, consumers, and other interested parties can view the information.
Data collected about HAIs give consumers access to information about healthcare facilities in their area and across the state. The information can help consumers ask physicians and hospital staff informed questions about infection control and prevention practices in the facility. In addition to infection data, consumers should consider many factors when choosing a healthcare facility such as the experience of the facility staff and the advice of their physician, as well as the facility’s location and environment, patient services and support services.
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