Fighting Hospital Infections


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When I was Lt. Governor of New York State, I was horrified to hear about patients suffering from hospital infections. I heard from families struggling to understand how their loved one had been killed, instead of cured, by hospital care. That’s why I founded the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. RID is a non-profit organization dedicated to only one cause: saving lives. Hospital infections kill more Americans each year than AIDS, breast cancer and auto accidents combined.

  • RID’s 15 Steps empowers patients to reduce their risk of infection.
  • RID delivers accurate research on infection prevention for physicians and hospital staff, bridging the gap between today’s knowledge and yesterday’s practices.
  • RID holds forums, presents at major medical conferences and educates thousands of caregivers using the latest technologies.
  • One of RID’s lasting legacies will be in medical schools and nursing schools, helping to educate the next generation of caregivers on how to provide clean care and “do no harm.” RID’s goal here is to make hygiene a central part of medicine again.
  • RID works with lawmakers to require hospital infection reporting, so if you need to be hospitalized you can find out which hospitals in your state have the lowest infection rates. RID also bring pressure to bear on state and federal governments to reduce infections.

Recent Victories:

When RID began in 2004, hospital infection rates were kept secret and government agencies did far too little to address the problem. Since then, twenty-six states and The District of Columbia have enacted laws requiring hospitals to disclose their infection rates to the public.

Since 2009, Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly and disabled, announced that it will stop paying hospitals to treat several types of hospital infections that are preventable and therefore should “never” happen. Hospitals will be barred from billing patients for what Medicare doesn’t pay.

Hospital industry groups, such as the Greater New York Hospital Association in New York State, are making infection prevention a priority. Even the Joint Commission, which is responsible for accrediting most of the nation’s hospitals, recently announced that it will make hospital hygiene and infection prevention a focus of future inspections. These are major changes that will save lives.

Join me in the campaign to stop hospital infections. Together we can save lives!

Betsy McCaughey, Ph.D.
Chairman and Founder


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