Health Policy Letter

Health Policy Letter

HCS/545

Health Policy Letter

Dear Mr. /Ms. Legislator:

I am writing you today with grave concerns regarding healthcare associated infections (HAIs); an important health issue which adversely impacts patient safety and outcomes. As the administrator of QRS Healthcare Organization, a non-profit healthcare organization, one of my main duties and responsibilities involves improving patient outcomes through innovative patient safety initiatives. Through research, I have recognized HAIs as a major contributor of patient readmission, which contributes to the rising cost in the U.S. healthcare expenditure. HAIs are infections a patient acquires while being treated in a healthcare facility, they are often preventable, and yet a major threat to patient safety (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016).

I strongly believe and ask for your support in implementing a HAIs Prevention Policy into legislation, as this issue has become a national public health issue which affects not only the population and community my organization serves, or our state’s health population, but the national population as a whole. This letter will explain in detail the health policy I am proposing, its purpose, and the essential points that explain how this issue has evolved into a concern. Finally, this letter will analyze in detail the responsibilities of the organization’s leadership, and the responsibility of professional licensing boards as it applies to patient safety.

Proposed Policy and Its Purpose

I am proposing a HAIs Prevention Policy; requiring hospitals and other healthcare facilities to execute a tracking system to monitor and track hand hygiene. Implementing a hand hygiene tracking system not only guarantees adherence of infection control policies, it will also help reduce the number of HAIs which in turn will help reduce the annual cost of healthcare in the U.S. HAIs occur up to 48 hours after being admitted to a hospital, up to 30 days following discharge, up to 30 days after surgery, and in a healthcare facility where the person came in for something not related to an infection (Stubblefield, 2016). Syndor & Perl (2011) state, “HAIs are associated with significant morbidity, mortality, and cost. Growing rates of HAIs alongside evidence suggesting that active surveillance and infection control practices can prevent HAIs led to the development of hospital epidemiology and infection control programs. The role for infection control programs has grown and continues to grow as rates of antimicrobial resistance rise and HAIs lead to increasing risks to patients and expanding health care costs.”

Unfortunately, not enough hospitals are taking advantage of the benefits of implementing and utilizing a hand hygiene tracking system. There were a total of 758 hospitals that did not meet federal targets for HAIs in 2015, and those hospitals will see a 1% reduction in payments for all Medicare discharges for a year, saving CMS about $364 million (Morse, 2015). The opportunity to improve patient safety, patient outcomes, and reduce the morbidity and mortality rates, coupled with the costs savings in the U.S. health expenditure is why I implore you to take action now and push to pass this legislation.

Essential Points That Explain How This Issue Has Evolved

The complexity of medical care and patient convulsion has made HAIs more common. Though there has been a reduction in HAIs in healthcare organizations that implemented hand hygiene tracking systems and programs, the problem is not resolved. As the healthcare evolves along with the increased size of health organizations, more sick and immune compromised patients are being treated under the same roof. There has also been an increase in outpatient treatment and patient procedures. Not to mention the impact of insufficient hygienic protocols concerning uniforms, disinfecting equipment, cleansing, and other precautionary actions that may not be adhered to by all hospital staff, all of which contribute significantly to HAIs (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2012).

Again, I desperately seek your assistance in addressing this public health issue which affects not only our state’s health population, but the entire U.S. health population. This policy will affect all stakeholders in the health industry; from patients to healthcare employees, from insurance companies to healthcare organization, and from pharmacies to local and federal governments. The policy will also help reduce the cost of healthcare, while saving lives and decreasing the length of admission and readmission rates.

Responsibility of Organizational Leadership

All healthcare organizations and its leaders are responsibility for furnishing an environment that is safe for both patients and staff. Administrative leaders within my organization are responsible for: leading by example, leading by possessing a thorough knowledge of all aspects of all types of healthcare systems, and leading with a vision that meets QRS Healthcare Organization’s goals, objectives, and missions. Leadership (as well as ancillary staff) within my organization is also responsible for being the change agent for patient safety, which impacts quality health outcomes and the cost of healthcare. Leadership will be responsible for ensuring training and information is available and assessable for employees. Continuous research, scheduled recurring evaluations, and education will ensure the organization is kept up to date on any industry changes or trends.

Policy Impact on Resources

I strongly believe implementing the proposed HAIs Prevention Policy into legislation will yield favorable results for healthcare resources. The decrease in HAI rates will reduce the amount of non-reimbursable costs and allow organizations to allocate those funds to other areas of need, including other programs that contribute to quality patient outcomes that yield cost savings. The policy will also help eliminate the need for organizations and providers to increase other costs to offset the loss of non-reimbursable costs associates with HAIs. Lastly, passing this important policy into legislation will keep healthcare organizations from inadvertently promoting antibiotic resistance through over prescribing antibiotics; which can also help reduce healthcare costs.

Policy Compliance

Many healthcare organizations and facilities have implemented policies in place to help reduce HAI rates; unfortunately infection rates are still rising. This proves that regardless of the fact that organizational policies exits, it is still not enough. A law is needed to address this national public health crisis. Taking the necessary steps to implement the proposed policy into legislation “now” will tremendously aid in preventing patients from continuously contracting HAIs which can lead to other health complications or death in some instances. Public reporting will be a mandatory requirement, as it helps yield lower HAI rates in states with this option. Tangible and intangible incentives will also play an important role in implementing this new legislation. Incentives are very important, but compliance and accountability are also important. Therefore we support utilizing current avenues of disciple to ensure compliance.

Finally, licensing and education/training will be a necessity. We are recommending forging a new or extended division inside the state health department which focuses on education on averting and governance concerning practices and treatment of all staff. We also suggest mandatory training on infection control as well as adherence to licensing standards and guidelines for all employees.

Impact of Ethical Standard Compliance

Another major goal of this proposed policy is to foster a healthcare environment that maintains and embraces ethical standards and practices. The goal is to continuously provide outstanding care to patients in an environment that is safe, cozy, and satisfying. Individuals who do not comply with policy will face harsh punishments that include consequences that range from suspension to termination.

Responsibility of Professional Licensing Boards

Patient safety is the responsibility of all stakeholders in the healthcare industry, including licensing boards. Healthcare providers take a hypocritical oath which specifically states, “I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure” (John Hopkins University, 2016). Healthcare providers who do not adhere to the new legislation are in direct violation of the oldest most sacred medical oath. Licensing boards must be prepared to take disciplinary actions against medical professional who do not comply with the new legislation. It is a shared responsibility of all stakeholders to protect and promote patient safety, especially licensing boards.

Conclusion

In closing, I hope that I have briefed you on an ongoing national public health crisis. I implore you to take immediate action to implement this important policy into legislation. The policy will yield increased hygiene compliance rates as well as decreased HAI rates. These results will in turn produce reduced postoperative HAIs and readmission rates; allowing healthcare organizations to better utilize resources and reduce the costs of care. As a leaders in our community, we have a responsibility to the people we serve. Peter Drucker said it best “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things”, (Brainy Quotes, 2016). Thank you in advance for your time, consideration, and swift action on the important healthcare issue.

r/

Ms. Rinelle Pierce, BHA

Administrator, QRS Healthcare Organization.

References

Brainy Quotes. (2017). Peter Drucker Quotes. Retrieved from

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/p/peter_drucker.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). HAI Data and Statistics. Retrieved from

https://www.cdc.gov/hai/surveillance/index.html

John Hopkins University. (2016). Hippocratic Oath, Modern Version. Retrieved from

http://guides.library.jhu.edu/c.php?g=202502&p=1335759

Morse, S. (2015). More Than 750 Facilities Fined For Hospital-Acquired Infections, CMS Says;

See The List. Retrieved from http://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/more-750-facilities-fined-hospital-acquired-infections-cms-says-see-list

Stubblefield, H. (2016). What Are Nosocomial Infections? Retrieved from

http://www.healthline.com/health/hospital-acquired-nosocomial-infections#Overview1

Syndor, R. & Perl, T. (2011). Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control in Acute-Care

Settings. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3021207/

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2012). Healthcare – Associated Infections: A Public Health

Problem. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3530249/