Valley Medical Center Set to Implement MRSA Legislation

New law requiring hospitals to adopt House Bill 1123 goes into effect January 1, 2010
RENTON, WA - Valley Medical Center (VMC), the largest healthcare provider in South King County, is on track to begin implementation of House Bill (HB) 1123, a new law requiring hospitals to take specific steps to prevent and control Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) beginning January 1, 2010.
HB 1123 necessitates hospitals adopt a policy containing the following requirements:
  • Risk Assessment: Hospitals will be required to conduct a risk assessment to identify patients who may need MRSA screening;
  • Testing ICU Patients: Adults and pediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients will be screened for MRSA colonization within 24 hours of admission;
  • Preventing MRSA Transmission: Apply appropriate procedures for preventing a patient who tests positive for MRSA from transmitting MRSA to other patients;
  • Rooming for MRSA Patients: Implement a notification process to inform patients they may be roomed with patients who have MRSA, or whose MRSA status is unknown;
  • Patient Notification and Education: Every patient with a MRSA infection will receive oral and written instructions about aftercare and precautions against spreading the infection.
In addition, the law states that the Washington State Department of Health will receive data on MRSA from the normal coding process used to report diagnoses through the Comprehensive Hospital Abstract Reporting System (CHARS).
What Valley Medical Center is Doing to Prevent/Control MRSA
“We are, and historically have been very focused on preventing MRSA infections at Valley Medical Center,” said Kathryn Beattie, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Valley Medical Center. “We recognize the importance of this legislation. We’re committed to doing our part to comply with all requirements of House Bill 1123.”
  • Risk Assessment & Testing: All adult ICU patients will be screened for MRSA within 24 hours of admission. Patients with a laboratory confirmed history of MRSA are identified so upon re-admittance they are placed under contact precautions. Patients are not removed from isolation until specific criteria are met.
  • Preventing MRSA Transmission: At VMC, prevention of MRSA transmission requires a multistep approach. A “Contact Precautions” sign is placed on the patient’s door. Gloves and gown are required to be worn upon entry into the patient’s room, and discarded prior to exiting the room to prevent contamination. Gloves are changed between caring for different sites on the same patient. Hand hygiene is practiced when changing or removing gloves. And everyone entering or leaving a patient room is advised to “foam in” and “foam out” with hand sanitizer athand foam stations outside patient rooms.
  • Rooming for MRSA Patients: At VMC, all of our patient rooms are private, thus patients identified with MRSA will be placed in a private room. In the event we need to house two or more patients together in one room, patients with MRSA will be placed in a cohort (a room with other MRSA-positive patients).
  • Patient Notification & Education: Every patient with a MRSA infection receives oral and written instructions about aftercare and precautions against spreading the infection.
Staphylococcus aureus, often called “staph” is a bacteria commonly found on the skin of healthy people. Usually staph bacteria don’t cause any harm, however, sometimes they get inside the body through a break in the skin and cause a staph infection. Methicillin is an antibiotic often used to treat staph infections. MRSA is antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria. Most often, MRSA causes infections on the skin, but it can cause other infections like pneumonia, blood stream infections and urinary tract infections. MRSA infections look like sores (spider bites), boils, or a cut that is swollen, hot and filled with pus. MRSA is commonly transferred via touching the skin of someone who has MRSA, or using their personal items such as towels, washcloths, clothes or athletic equipment. You have a greater risk of getting MRSA if you are recovering from surgery or burns, have tubes in your body for medical treatment, or if you share needles. Frequent hand hygiene – washing with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer – is the most important control measure for MRSA.
About Valley Medical Center
Valley Medical Center is the largest nonprofit healthcare provider between Seattle and Tacoma, serving over 400,000 residents. In addition to the hospital, the Medical Center operates a network of more than two dozen primary care, urgent care and specialty clinics throughout Southeast King County. Located in Renton, Washington, VMC offers medical, surgical and 24-hour emergency care as a Level III Trauma Center. VMC is a regional resource with recognized medical specialties in joint replacement and orthopedics, neuroscience, stroke and spine, sleep medicine, and childbirth and neonatal care, and provides specialized heart and vascular, and cancer treatment. At Valley Medical Center, patient safety is our number one priority. 
Media Contact:
Kim Blakeley, Valley Medical Center
(425) 228-3440 x3341
(206) 550-6564 - cell 


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