Consumers Union wages national campaign to reduce infections
A Consumers Union campaign, aimed at reducing infection rates in hospitals, has played a significant role in reform measures adopted in dozens of states, including Washington.
For many patient advocates, a modest office in Austin, Texas, is the command center for their national push to reduce hospital-associated infection rates and protect patients against germs like MRSA.
Since 2003, the nonprofit group Consumers Union and its campaign — Stop Hospital Infections — have brought together thousands of patients and activists.
"We're putting a human face on a national problem and recognizing the voices in each state that are fighting for change," said program director Lisa McGiffert.
The campaign has played a significant role in reform measures adopted in dozens of states, including Washington.
Last year, McGiffert testified before Washington legislators who later passed a law requiring hospitals, for the first time, to publicly disclose some infection rates.
State Rep. Tom Campbell, R-Roy, sponsor of the bill, said he consulted with the Consumers Union to determine how more than a dozen other states had grappled with similar legislation.
Founded in 1936, the Consumers Union publishes Consumer Reports magazine. Through an expansive Web page, the Stop Hospital Infections campaign links advocates and provides a daily snapshot of news and legislation involving infections.
Each year, at least 2 million people contract preventable hospital infections and 90,000 die, said McGiffert, citing estimates compiled by federal health agencies.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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