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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Making Hospital Infection Rates Public: What Does It Mean to You?

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I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

The Texas Legislature’s recent vote to make hospital infection rates public is a positive move – one that may turn out to be among the most significant pieces of legislation out of the 2007 session.

Public reporting of hospital infection rates will help hospitals identify best practices, and it will give consumers the power of information. Whether it’s a young couple looking for the best place to deliver their child or someone looking for the top hospital for hip replacements, healthcare decisions may be based in part on quality data about hospital infection rates.

Hospitals have long been able to access national databases of infection rates, but now we will be able to compare data from health care providers within our own communities. Texas Health Resources’ hospitals already maintain information about infection rates for internal purposes – like most major medical centers throughout the state.

Until now, hospitals have been understandably reluctant to release this data because of inconsistencies in how the numbers are tracked and reported. But with this new legislation, we expect a uniform system to develop – one that ensures fair reporting.

I applaud our Legislature for taking this step toward improved quality and safety in the increasingly competitive healthcare marketplace.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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