Existing sepsis policies may harm safety-net hospitals and widen health disparities

Sept. 30, 2019

Safety-net hospitals may not have adequate resources to comply with federal and state sepsis quality improvement standards required of acute care hospitals, according to an AHRQ-supported study in the Journal of Critical Care.

Researchers analyzed data from 2,827 hospitals and found a small but statistically significant difference (almost 3 percent) between non–safety-net hospitals and safety-net hospitals on adherence to the Medicare severe sepsis and septic shock early management bundle, known as SEP-1.

Responding to these policies requires considerable resources, including a financial investment that is beyond the reach of many hospitals and may disproportionately burden safety-net hospitals, authors noted. Initial data suggest that compliance with this measure is generally poor; on average, hospitals complete the bundle in only half of eligible patients.

Researchers concluded this poor compliance exacerbates disparities in healthcare relating to infection control. They suggested potential strategies to improve sepsis care in safety-net hospitals, including promoting collaboration among hospitals.

Access the abstract at PubMed.

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