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CDC Issues New Safety Checklist Guidelines for Outpatient Facilities

Chicago medical malpractice lawyers applaud the new safety checklist guidelines for outpatient facilities. According to Kaiser Health News, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention were concerned with the number of outpatient infections caused by facilities not following the standard infection prevention practices. Michael Bell, the deputy director of the CDC’s division of health care quality promotion, reported to Kaiser Health News that “repeated outbreaks resulting from unsafe practices, along with breaches of infection control noted in ambulatory surgical centers during inspections by the [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] indicate the need for better infection prevention.”

The checklist includes a general list of practices and procedures that each facility should have in place. The checklist asks the facility whether it has policies regarding practices such as hand hygiene, surveillance and disease reporting, and sterilization of reusable instruments and devices. For example, the checklist inquires whether the outpatient facility executes does maintenance for the equipment that sterilizes other tools according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Illinois medical malpractice attorneys anticipate that compliance with the checklist will reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections each year.

According to the CDC, each year more than 2 million hospital-acquired infections occur in U.S. hospitals. 99,000 of the patients who acquire an infection from a hospital die as a result of the infection. These numbers do not include the non-hospital based clinics, physician offices, urgent care centers, outpatient surgical centers, public health clinics, imaging centers, and oncology clinics that the new checklist was made for. With outpatient facilities performing more than 75% of all operations, and many not adhering to standard infection prevention practices, the checklist will have an enormous effect on patient safety.

Hospital acquired infections are also expensive. According to one CDC study, hospital acquired infections costs our healthcare systems $6.65 billion each year. For families with patients who acquired an infection in the hospital, the extra, unanticipated expense can be devastating. Although medical malpractice lawsuits may help families cope with the burden of those costs, the expenses can be avoided altogether if medical facilities utilize safe and preventative infection practices.