Last year, Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly and disabled, announced that it will stop paying hospitals to treat several types of hospital infections that are preventable and therefore should “never” happen. Hospitals will be barred from billing patients for what Medicare doesn’t pay.
Hospital industry groups, such as the Greater New York Hospital Association in New York State, are making infection prevention a priority. Even the Joint Commission, which is responsible for accrediting most of the nation’s hospitals, recently announced that it will make hospital hygiene and infection prevention a focus of future inspections. These are major changes that will save lives.