State could become more transparent about infection rates at hospitals

Jul 18, 2014

The state’s top health official says Michigan could be more transparent about how many people get infections while at hospitals.

The state is reviewing its policies on requiring hospitals to disclose their infection rates.
Credit click / morgueFile

A recent series suggests the state has withheld that information from the public. That includes infection rates at specific hospitals.

Jim Haveman, director of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), says that information is becoming more important for many patients.

“The consumer is becoming much more sophisticated in making choices and they’re beginning to demand more information,” said Haveman. “And, quite honestly, I think the hospitals and the physician groups will have to accommodate that.”

But he says it will not be easy to provide all the information necessary to allow patients to make the most informed decisions.

“Did the infection come in with the patient? Did the person get the infection while in the hospital? It’s very complicated. And how do you compare one hospital to another? And those are the tough decisions that we’ve got to sit back and reflect on,” he said.

Haveman says MDCH will spend the next month or two reviewing its policies.

31 states and the District of Columbia require health care facilities to report information on infection rates.