Northwestern Law professor Bernie Black and University of Illinois law professor David Hyman recently received a $450,000 grant from Public Health Law Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to conduct research on health care law and policy.
The grant will fund a research project that will examine whether public reporting of hospital infection rates causes hospitals to work toward reducing those infection rates and, if so, for what types of infections, and how the impact depends on the nature of the reporting rules. These are important policy questions: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health care-associated infections kill about 100,000 Americans per year. Many of these infections are preventable, but hospitals have weak incentives to prevent them.
The project will explore whether reporting of infection rates causes hospitals to change the way they report infection rates, or both, and the ways in which hospital infection preventionists and consumers use the reports.