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 (HAIs). In Virginia, central line-associated bloodstream infection data from hospital adult intensive (critical) care units have been shared with VDH since July 2008.
On September 25, 2015, the HAI reporting regulations were amended to expand the amount of HAI data that is shared with VDH. The updated regulations align reporting to the state health department with what hospitals are already reporting to the NHSN for the purposes of complying with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program. Under the new regulations, measures now part of the state reporting requirements include central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) in critical care units and select inpatient units; catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) in adult and pediatric critical care units, and select inpatient units; surgical site infections following abdominal hysterectomy and colon procedures; methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia laboratory-identified events; Clostridium difficile laboratory-identified events; and healthcare personnel influenza vaccination summary data.
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.
For more information:
- CLABSI reports and information on how to interpret the data presented
- Virginia Regulatory Town Hall – source of information about proposed changes to Virginia’s regulations; includes online forums where the public can make comments on proposed regulations.
- Surveillance resources for healthcare facilities