Hospitals accepting Medicare patients must start in 2011 to report hospital-acquired infection rates to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Healthcare Safety Network under a final rule setting Medicare inpatient and long-term care payment rates for next year.

For 2011, hospitals must report central line associated bloodstream infections on a quarterly basis. Reporting of additional types of infections will be required in subsequent years. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will post hospital infection rates on its consumer-oriented Hospital Compare Web site.

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology applauds the new reporting requirements. The rule is a major step toward replacing reliance on administrative and coding data to track infections, the group says in a statement. "Now, more than ever, hospital administrators need to support the new rule by providing ample infection prevention staff, coupled with automated surveillance technology, thereby empowering infection preventionists to lead the interventions that will reduce infections."

The final rule is available at, and CMS will publish it in the Federal Register on Aug. 16. More information on the CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network is available at

--Joseph Goedert


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