KCUR News
10:54 am
Wed August 18, 2010

Missouri Restores Hospital Infection Data

Kansas City, MO – The Missouri Department of Health has announced it plans to restore hospital infection records to its database.

Earlier this week, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported the state was only keeping infection data for the last 12 months, drawing complaints from consumer groups.

Missouri passed a law in 2004, requiring hospitals to report healthcare infections to the state. Kit Wagar is with the Missouri health department. He says the state's kept all hospital infection information since the law was enacted, but that based on interpretations of the law, only the last 12 months of data has been accessible through the department's website.

Wagar says the department of health, in consultation with the Governor, decided to change that last night.

"You know, there was no reason not to put this up," says Wagar. "You could read this legislation a lot more flexibly and say, 'hey, let's provide all the information we've got.'"

Wagar says the department's in the process of updating its software but is unsure how long it will take before all of the infection data will be publicly available.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infections linked to health care kill nearly 100,000 people nationwide each year and cost the health system up to $45 billion.

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