Gov. Blagojevich signs legislation to help prevent and control infections in health care facilities   Send a link to a friend

Law requires assessment, control and prevention of multidrug-resistant organisms in hospitals, nursing homes and mental health facilities

[August 31, 2007]  SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation Aug. 20 to help protect the health of people in hospitals, nursing homes and mental health facilities against infection. House Bill 192, sponsored by state Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, and state Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to create rules to reduce rates of multidrug-resistant organisms, known as MDROs, and other "super bugs."

"People should feel confident that when they go to a hospital, a nursing home or other health facility for medical care, they will not end up worse off with a dangerous infection. This bill will help make sure facilities are safe and clean, and will help reduce the risk of infection for patients," said Blagojevich.

House Bill 192 aims to reduce the rising number of MDROs, such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus and other "super bugs." MRSA is a type of bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics such as methicillin, oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, staph infections, including MRSA, occur most frequently among people in hospitals and health care facilities (such as nursing homes and dialysis centers) who have weakened immune systems.

The law will require health care facilities regulated or licensed by the Department of Public Health, as well as facilities for mental health and the developmentally disabled that are overseen by the Illinois Department of Human Services, to perform annual infection control risk assessments throughout each facility; develop infection control policies for MDROs, enforce hand hygiene and contact precaution requirements, and incorporate any updated MDRO prevention and control recommendations issued by the CDC.

"House Bill 192 is a comprehensive bill because it addresses all MDROs, and not just MRSAs. I thank the governor for signing this bill that will help the state keep Illinoisans healthier and safer," said Flowers, House sponsor of the legislation.

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The bill calls for the Department of Public Health to:

  • Publicize guidelines for reducing the incidence of MDROs and provide periodic reports and updates based on news developments.

  • Publish a yearly report on MRSA and clostridium difficile -- another multidrug-resistant organism.

  • Report in the Hospital Report Card any MDRO infections that lead to specific bloodstream infections and pneumonia.

  • Implement surveillance for community-acquired MRSA infections for at least three years.

While signing House Bill 192 into law, the governor also vetoed Senate Bill 233, a similar piece of legislation that was not as comprehensive and multifaceted. House Bill 192 addresses hospital-acquired infections, including but not limited to MRSA, and begins to address the issue of community-acquired MRSA.

The legislation goes into effect immediately.

[Text from Illinois Department of Public Health news release received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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