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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Legislation on Infections Also Aimed at Cutting Costs

Amid much discussion about the health risks hospitals pose to patients, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation in late September to curb the transmission of deadly infections in hospitals and to inform the public about rates of hospital infections. In addition to protecting the public, the bill aims to reduce the funds spent on healthcare because curbing infections in hospitals will cut down on the length of time patients stay in hospitals and the likelihood that they will be readmitted in the future. According to the Centers for Disease Control, two million patients annually contract a hospital acquired infection while being treated for something else. Almost 100,000 such patients die yearly from these infections. The legislation the governor signed to reduce infections in California hospitals consists of three bills. The first is known as the Medical Facility Infection Control and Prevention Act, or “Nile’s Law.” It requires hospitals to develop comprehensive policies and procedures to improve and ensure effective infection control practices. It also requires the Department of Public Health to establish a healthcare acquired infection program in which hospitals will report on infection rates. In addition, hospitals would be required to screen certain high-risk patients for staph infections and to take action to prevent the spread of the infection to others. The second component of the legislation expands the duties of the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Healthcare Associated Infections Advisory Committee. It requires hospitals and skilled nursing facilities to establish plans to improve patient safety and outlines training requirements for hospital infection control committee chairs, clinicians, and hospital staff. The last component of the legislation expands existing law that authorizes health facilities to practice percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) by establishing the Elective Percutaneous Coronary Intervention Pilot Program at CDPH. The program will authorize up to six acute care hospitals that are licensed to provide cardiac catheterization laboratory service in California (and that meet other criteria) to perform percutaneous coronary intervention for patients. Discussing the legislation, Gov. Schwarzenegger remarked, “These important measures will help save lives and health care dollars by reducing the number of infections that people are exposed to while staying in the hospital. “Improving patient safety within hospitals and arming consumers with information about hospital infection rates will better protect Californians and improve the overall quality of health care.” Amgen Victory The beginning of October ushered in good news for biotech company Amgen. The Thousand Oaks company won a major victory Oct. 3 when the U.S. District Court in Boston issued a permanent injunction prohibiting competitor Roche from selling Amgen’s renal anemia drug, Mircera, in the U.S. The court had already entered a preliminary injunction preventing Roche from selling the drug, but Roche appealed the ruling. The court has now stated that it would enter a permanent injunction once the appeal of the preliminary injunction is resolved. “Amgen is pleased with (the) ruling, which recognizes that Amgen is entitled to a permanent injunction against Roche and reaffirms the infringement and validity of our patents,” stated David Scott, Amgen’s senior vice president and general counsel. Amgen was also made news this month for appointing Fran & #231;ois de Carbonnel to its Board of Directors. De Carbonnel, 61, is a consultant and corporate financial advisor. His appointment brings the number of Amgen board members to 12. De Carbonnel will serve as a member of the board’s Audit and Governance and Nominating Committees. Through 2006, Mr. de Carbonnel was a consultant and senior advisor to Citigroup’s Corporate and Investment Bank and to Citigroup Venture Capital, based in London. He has also served as managing director and member of the Operating Committee of Citigroup’s Corporate and Investment Bank, which he joined in 1999. Prior to working for Citigroup, De Carbonnel served as chair and chief executive officer of MIDIAL S.A. in Paris. De Carbonnel serves on a number of boards outside of Amgen’s. He is chair of the board of Thomson S.A., an international multimedia corporation, and a board member for Pages Jaunes S.A., a French public company; Quilvest S.A., a public Luxembourg company; and Ecofin Global Utilities Hedge Fund Ltd. and Ecofin North America Utilities Hedge Fund Ltd., both Irish public companies. Staff Reporter Nadra Kareem can be reached at (818) 316-3124 or at nkareem@sfvbj.com.

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