CDC calls for expanding CRE infection prevention efforts   03/07/2013
About 5% of acute-care hospitals and 18% of long-term care hospitals reported at least one infection involving a bacteria called carbapenem-resistent Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) to the National Healthcare Safety Network in the first half of 2012, according to a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Highly resistant to treatment with most antibiotics, CRE infections have a mortality rate exceeding 40%. While relatively rare in acute-care hospitals, CRE represents a growing share of Enterobacteriaceae infections. It also can spread rapidly in health care settings and has the potential to move to the community, CDC said. “The high proportion of LTACHs with CRE in 2012 highlights the need to expand prevention outside of short-stay acute-care hospitals into settings that, historically, have had less developed infection prevention programs,” the report states. “Additional research is needed to clarify unanswered questions, including assessing which CRE prevention strategies are most effective and investigating new prevention approaches such as decolonization.”
CDC issues revised treatment guidance for steroid infections   03/07/2013
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week issued revised guidance for treating patients injected with contaminated steroid medication recalled from the New England Compounding Center last fall. In a notice to clinicians, the agency said it continues to receive new reports of fungal infection in patients receiving the contaminated methylprednisolone acetate, with most recent cases involving localized infections in the spinal area. CDC urged clinicians to remain vigilant for fungal infections, especially in patients with mild symptoms, and to consider magnetic resonance imaging if clinically warranted. The agency also announced a March 13 conference call on the new guidance.
Human-to-human transmission of novel coronavirus reported in UK   03/07/2013
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today reported the first human-to-human transmission of a novel coronavirus among three people in the United Kingdom. CDC is working with the World Health Organization to better understand the public health risk posed by the virus, which was first reported to cause human infections in September 2012. To date, 14 confirmed cases of the novel virus, including eight deaths, have been reported in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and the UK. No cases have been reported in the U.S. CDC has posted updated case definitions and infection control guidance for health care providers at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/ncv.
HHS approves more state partnership exchanges   03/07/2013
Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, and West Virginia have received conditional approval to establish a state partnership exchange for 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services announced today. To date, 24 states and the District of Columbia have received conditional approval to partially or fully run a Health Insurance Marketplace under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In addition, several other states have suggested their own approaches to contributing toward plan management in their Marketplace in 2014, HHS said. For more information, visit http://cciio.cms.gov.
CMS releases ICD-10 checklists, timelines   03/07/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently posted checklists and timelines to help small hospitals, physician practices and payers transition to ICD-10 for reporting patient diagnoses and inpatient procedures. Under a final rule issued in August, hospitals and other entities covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act must transition to the ICD-10 coding system by Oct. 1, 2014. For more information, visit www.cms.gov.
AzHHA names new chief executive   03/07/2013
The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) this week named as its new president and CEO Greg Vigdor, currently president and CEO of the Washington Health Foundation. Vigdor created the foundation in 1992, and before that served as senior vice president of the Washington State Hospital Association, executive director of the Association of Washington Public Hospital Districts, and director of public policy for the New Mexico Hospital Association. “Greg has an impressive background, and we are excited to have him come to lead the Association at such a critical time for hospitals in Arizona,” said Judy Rich, president and CEO of Tucson’s TMC HealthCare and chair of the AzHHA Board of Directors.