Call to Order and Roll Call
The1st meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection was held on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, at 2:30 PM, at the James A. Ramage Civil War Museum in Fort Wright, Kentucky. Senator Jack Westwood, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Jack Westwood, Co-Chair; Representative Tanya Pullin, Co-Chair; Senators Perry B. Clark and Dennis Parrett; Representatives Royce W. Adams, Tom Burch, Dwight D. Butler, Mike Cherry, Larry Clark, Leslie Combs, Tim Couch, Bill Farmer, Jeff Greer, Terry Mills, Tim Moore, Carl Rollins II, Sal Santoro, Ben Waide, and Alecia Webb-Edgington.
Guests: Steve Stevens, President, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Jeanine Kreinbrink, Vice President of the Board, James A. Ramage Civil War Museum; Dr. Kevin T. Kavanagh, MD, MS, FACS; and Gene Kiser, Acting Executive Director, Kentucky Office of Homeland Security.
Representative Webb-Edgington read a fallen soldier resolution for Private First Class Brandon T. Pickering. A motion was made and seconded to adopt the resolution, and it was adopted by a unanimous voice vote.
Welcome Messages for Committee
Steve Stevens, President, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the committee and spoke briefly about the Northern Kentucky area and also how important it is to have veterans returning home to live and work in their area by using their acquired skills for various jobs in the community.
Jeanine Kreinbrink, Vice President of the Board of the James A. Ramage Civil War Museum, on behalf of the city of Fort Wright and the museum, welcomed the committee and gave the a brief history of the land and the museum and invited members to tour it after the meeting.
Hospital Borne Infections
Dr. Kevin Kavanagh gave a power point presentation on healthcare acquired infections. He discussed the top ten causes of death in the United States. Dr. Kavanagh stated that hospital acquired infections affect approximately one in twenty patients, cost approximately $30 billion, and cause nearly 100,000 deaths in the United States each year. In Kentucky, there are 23,000 infections with almost 1,400 deaths, at a cost of approximately $400 million yearly. Dr. Kavanagh discussed the four pillars of controlling hospital infections: data for action, align incentives, adherence to evidence based prevention practices, and innovation research.
Dr. Kavanagh expressed the importance of data and how it is needed to design interventions to know what infections to target. He said such data creates a baseline to compare the results, write grants, know which antibiotics to develop, and motivate the community to change behavior such as hand washing and cleaning public restrooms and other facilities.
Dr. Kavanagh stated that Kentucky is not adequately reporting hospital infections and only outbreaks are reported. There were only four outbreaks reported from hospitals over a year’s time. Dr. Kavanagh stated that despite the burden of reporting data, the hospital industry is profitable and the strongest sector in the economy. He gave examples of how public reporting can work.
Dr. Kavanagh stated that all facilities should give the public the same protection from Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) as the Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals provides for their patients. The rate of MRSA infections in the VA system was lowered 76 percent in the ICU setting and 28 percent in the non-ICU settings per 1,000 beds. These results involved 153 facilities and over 1 million patients. The VA hospitals are leaders in preventing adverse outcomes. One area of improvement is to change the VA’s coding to denote if the adverse condition was present on admission of the patient.
Dr. Kavanagh discussed a poll taken by Senator Harper Angel in February 2010, which resulted in 91 percent of people supporting the requirement of hospitals to report all hospital-acquired infections to the state health department. He continued by stating that KRS 211.180 gives the Governor broad authority to control communicable diseases. Regulations could be enacted to require reporting of all healthcare acquired infections at Kentucky’s facilities through the Center for Disease Control’s National Healthcare Safety Network.
Dr. Kavanagh concluded that Kentuckians have the right to know what the MRSA rates are in their facilities, the benefit to society far outweighs the so-called “burden” to the healthcare industry, and the veil of secrecy regarding hospital and healthcare acquired conditions should be lifted.
In response to a question from Senator Parrett, Dr. Kavanagh stated that Senator Harper Angel had a bill during the 2010 session dealing with this issue, but it did not get heard because the committee ran out of time.
Representative Burch made a motion for the committee staff to do a resolution in honor of Representative Eddie Ballard. Representative Clark seconded the motion. The motion passed with a unanimous voice vote.
Due to impending inclement weather, the meeting adjourned.