Healthcare-associates Infections (HAIs) are infections that patients acquire during the course of receiving healthcare treatment for other conditions and can be devastating or even deadly ("CDC - HAIs the Burden - HAI", 2013). An HAI was defined as a localized or systemic condition that (1) results from an adverse reaction to the pres¬ence of an infectious agent(s) or its toxin(s), (2) that occurs during a hospital admission, (3) for which there is no evidence the infection was present or incubating at admission, and (4) meets body site-specific criteria (Klevens et al., 2007, p.2). Due to the lack of federal and state laws that require reporting and infection prevention laws of HAIs, there continues to be an increase in deaths, as well as healthcare and legal costs.
Direct legal issues that result in inadequate infection-control practices, medical costs of healthcare-associated infections and the amount of deaths that have occurred due to these preventable infections are the main targeted issues that will focus on this project. Reporting requirements of HAIs vary from state to state, provider, facility, frequency, and type of infection. Due to this, there is inconsistency in the methods of data collected, risk management, data validation, and the requirement or reporting HAIs. The legal requirements and statutes that mandate disclosure of errors need to be addressed in order to reduce and prevent HAIs. In addition, the discussion of legal duties and responsibilities of the care providers, facilities and patients are discussed.
Since there is no federal law that requires hospitals to report HAI deaths, much of the data in this report is based on the states that have statutes in place that require them to do so. It was estimated in the report done by Klevens and her colleagues that 1.7 million HAIs in U.S hospitals in 2002 occurred and 99,000 deaths were associated with those HAIs. These estimated are sobering and reinforce the need for improved prevention and surveillance efforts (Klevens et al., 2007, p.5). In addition, these infections cost $8.1 billion to treat, they lead to 2.3 million total days of hospitalization, and was the forth most expensive category, costing $252,600 per hospital on average, and each afflicted patient, on average, requires $24,500 more in care (Gaffey, 2010).
Although there is no single source of nationally reputable data on HAIs, this project will have a multi-step approach with several different data sources, which in the end determine why HAIs are a burden to United Stated healthcare and legal systems. The identified locations for HAIs will have taken place in hospital, long-term care, ambulatory and came-day surgical center settings, which are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the United Stated.
HAIs have been a patient safety and legal issue for hundreds of years. In the era of growing concern with patient safety in the health care system, these events raise important legal issues...