Posts Tagged ‘MRSA nasal swab’

MRSA high risk screening test in Maine

January 6th, 2010 1 comment

236_nasal_swab_2719292_188x156_January 4, 2010 marked the first day of screening high risk patients for MRSA in Maine Hospitals.  This is a huge step in the right direction.  Many Maine Hospitals ramped up their infection control policies long before January 4.  This screening is much wider than most of our hospitals have been screening.  My hopes and my supporters hopes are that this program will be successful and with all of the other necessary steps for prevention,  hospital acquired MRSA will pretty much disappear in Maine.

We do have concerns about this screening. It does not address endemic MRSA, which is MRSA that is already present within a hospital.  Admission screening only tells us what the patients MRSA status is on admission.  It does not tell us if they contract the disease while hospitalized.  That is very important if we are to address the spread of the disease.  Also, several high risk populations have been left out of the list of high risk patients to be screened during this test. Representative Adam Goode and I have addressed these issues in our new legislative resolution. 

Another major concern is that at the end of this “test”  (6 months) our hospitals will be right back to what they were doing prior to this “test”.  6 months is absolutely not long enough to screen and expect significant results.  In this way, this “test” may be self limiting.

All of our country’s VA hospitals screen everybody on admission, again a week later of if they are transferred to ICU, periodically (weekly) and again on discharge.  It has helped the VA hospitals drop MRSA rates by over 70%.  It has been so successful at  the VA that they are now merging their MRSA program into their long term care facilities.

The VA success is amazing.  My question is why aren’t all US hospitals doing exactly the same thing.   If you asked your local hospital they would say…”oh, it costs too much”.  I have never read an article about a successful MRSA program where hospitals did not benefit financially from the drop in MRSA rates.  The programs are worth every penny of start up costs.  The savings in human suffering and death are staggering.

My hope is that Maine Hospitals are taking the epidemic of MRSA seriously.  I believe they are.  Change is difficult for all of us.  But, if this screening, and the new infection control programs our hospitals have are taken seriously, our hospitals can become the safest in the country.