SEATTLE — Under a proposed law that unanimously passed the Washington State Senate on Monday and now awaits the governor''s signature, all hospitals in the state must screen high-risk patients for the potentially fatal infection Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), according to the Seattle Times.
According to the story, the bill, ESHB 1123, passed the House 97-0 on March 9, and was approved by the Senate 45-0.
Representative Thomas Campbell said: "People are dying, and we have to take action. I think that''s why you''re seeing unanimous votes in the House and the Senate."
Screening is quick, painless and inexpensive; the nasal swab test costs about $20, the story stated.
The proposed law would require hospitals to adopt a MRSA screening policy by January 1, 2010, and would require hospitals to notify patients of a MRSA diagnosis and provide education on treatment and prevention, the story noted.
Washington hopes to become one of only five states that mandate MRSA screenings; California, Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have already adopted mandated screenings, the story added.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MRSA infections have become epidemic and kill at least 18,000 people a year, more than acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
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