Your recent cover story (Profitable complications, Dec. 17, 2007, p. 6) and editorial (The start of something big, Dec. 24/31, 2007) leave an impression that the men and women who are front-line caregivers in Americas hospitals are not committed to guarding against patient infections. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Patient safety is hospitals top priority. Protecting patients from the ever-growing number of antibiotic-resistant germs is a critical part of that work. Infections can be devastating for patients, families and providers, complicating care and driving up costs for everyone. The strength of hospitals commitment to wipe out infections has nothing to do with financial incentives or payment system disincentives; to suggest otherwise is a disservice to the men and women on healthcares front lines every day.
From handwashing programs to appropriate use of antibiotics, hospitals across America are actively participating in individual, state and national initiatives to prevent infections. Just one of many efforts that are making a difference is the Michigan Health & Hospital Associations Keystone project, which for some time has established a model for how to combat infections and save lives and resources. As founding members of the Hospital Quality Alliance, we can state with confidence that our member hospitals are committed to improving quality of their care and reducing infections.