Pennsylvania Governor To Sign Bills Addressing Hospital Infections, Assisted-Living Facilities, Nurses

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Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) signed into lawtwo bills related to health care and is expected this week to signanother health care bill. Summaries of newspaper coverage of the billsappear below.

  • Assisted-livingfacilities: Rendell this week is expected to sign a bill that would"place tough new regulations" on assisted-living facilities, the Philadelphia Inquirerreports. Under current law, the same rules apply to all homes for theelderly and people with disabilities. The bill would requireassisted-living facilities to be licensed by the state, meet newstaff-training standards and undergo unannounced inspections at leastonce a year. The bill also would define "for the first time" whatservices assisted-living facilities must provide, the Inquirer reports (Phillips, Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/20).
  • Infections:Rendell on Friday signed into law a bill that will require hospitals totest their highest-risk patients and patients admitted from nursinghomes for infections that are resistant to antibiotics as part of his "Prescription for Pennsylvania" plan, the Inquirerreports. Hospital staff who are in contact with contagious patientsalso will be required to be tested for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.The bill, which will provide higher reimbursements to hospitals thatmeet benchmarks in preventing infections, will require most hospitalsto install software to assist in tracking infections. Moreover,hospitals will be required to report infections to CDC,which then would provide the information to state agencies inPennsylvania. The law will be phased in over several years (Goldstein, Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/20).
  • Nurses:Rendell on Friday signed into law a bill that will loosen restrictionson the types of care certified nurse practitioners can provide, the Inquirerreports. The legislation also is part of the "Prescription forPennsylvania" plan. For example, nurse practitioners will be allowed totreat chronically ill patients from home and to refer patients todieticians, occupational therapists and other specialists."Pennsylvania is one of the last states" to grant such responsibilitiesto nurse practitioners, and is doing so in an attempt to "reduce healthcare costs and increase access to treatment," the Inquirerreports. The bill also will allow certified midwives to prescribemedicine and will increase the number of physician assistants that adoctor can supervise to four from two (Roarty, Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/20).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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