Brown pushes STAAR bill

Legislation aims to fight hospital infections
Tom Jackson
May 2, 2014
The U.S. has a huge problem with people who contract antibioticresistant infections while getting hospital care.

And while the Centers for Disease Control says progress is being made, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, says much more needs to be done.

The senator held a telephone conference with media Wednesday to press for his the Strategies to Address Antimicrobial Resistance Act, which seeks to expand federal efforts to combat “super bugs”

The press release issued by Brown’s office after his conference asserted such infections are “on the rise” and the number of antibioticresistant infections has increased.

A March 2014 report issued by the CDC offers a more nuanced account, citing decreases in a variety of healthcare associated infections, including a 44 percent drop between 2008 and 2012 in the number of infections from tubes inserted into patients.

The CDC report also offered state-by-state statistics, with Ohio reporting better numbers for hospital infections than the national rate.

In any event, the problem apparently continues to be large. Brown said 23,000 Americans die each year from bacterial infections resistant to antibiotics. The CDC said there’s much more work to do.

Brown’s bill would promote partnerships between the CDC and local health departments to reduce infections. It would improve data collection on antibiotic-resistant bacteria, promote better use of antibiotics by hospitals and support more federal research into the problem.

Dr. Barbara Murray, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, took part in Brown’s press conference and said her group has worked with Brown to craft a bill that will help hospitals deal with the problem. She praised Brown’s leadership on the issue.

Brown previously has introduced similar legislation.

He told reporters he’s optimistic about securing approval for the bill this time because there’s growing awareness of the “super bug” problem. Getting legislation approved sometimes requires education first, he said.

“There are so many issues in this place” he said.