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CA Bill Would Require Enhanced Reporting of Antibiotic-Resistant Infections

Antibiotic-resistant infections are becoming a growing concern, particularly in U.S. hospitals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that antibiotic-resistant infections kill at least 23,000 Americans each year and sicken two million. Even more concerning, a U.K. study predicts that by 2050, if nothing is done, 10 million people will die worldwide from antibiotic-resistant infections, surpassing the 8.5 million people who will die from cancer.

As we have previously discussed on this San Diego Injury Blog, the California Department of Public Health does not currently monitor or track the occurrence of antibiotic-resistant infections or deaths caused by those infections. In addition, while attending physicians are legally obligated to file a certificate of death that records the disease or conditions contributing to the death, antibiotic-resistant infections are generally not included.

To help deter the spread of these deadly infections, California lawmakers are currently considering legislation that would require antimicrobial-resistant infection reporting. Specifically, Senate Bill No. 43 (SB-43) would require the statement of the disease or conditions leading directly to death and antecedent causes on the certificate of death to include any occurrence of antimicrobial-resistant infection that was a factor in the death, in the professional judgment of the physician and surgeon last in attendance.

The bill also mandates enhanced reporting by California hospitals. Under SB-43, general acute care hospitals and clinical laboratories would be required to submit an annual report to the California Department of Health, containing an antibiogram of the facility for the previous year. An antibiogram is a periodic summary of antimicrobial susceptibilities of local bacterial isolates submitted to the hospital's clinical microbiology laboratory. It can be used to monitoring resistance trends over time within an institution and help predict future outbreaks. The first report would be due on July 1, 2018, and each July 1 thereafter.

The proposed legislation would require the California Department of Public Health to post a report on its Internet Web site based on the data reported by hospitals and clinical laboratories and from certificates of death. The report must include designated information relating to the incidence, type, and distribution of antimicrobial-resistant infections, the type, level, and frequency of use of antimicrobial drugs, and the number of deaths for which antimicrobial resistance is listed on the certificate of death as the disease or condition directly leading to death, an antecedent cause, or a significant condition contributing to death. The reporting requirement would begin on January 1, 2019, with subsequent reports due each January 1 thereafter.

We will be closely tracking the status of SB-43 and will post updates as they become available.

At the Law Offices of Robert Vaage, our legal team has the experience required to pursue a complex California medical malpractice claim. We encourage you to contact a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.