Health Departments Do Not Track MRSA - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Health Departments Do Not Track MRSA

Erica Leathers, WTAMU nurse practitioner Erica Leathers, WTAMU nurse practitioner
Matt Richardson, Director of Public Health in Amarillo Matt Richardson, Director of Public Health in Amarillo

With the number of MRSA cases on the rise, we wanted to know why hospitals do not have to report them to the state. NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg looked into it, and found that time may be a factor.

"Tracking is only as good as the people who take the data and do something with it, I don't think just tracking is the end all, if you don't do anything with the tracking then you'll still have a problem," says Erica Leathers, a WTAMU nurse practitioner. 

The Texas Department of Health, says unless they can take action on a disease, there is no need to report it. So MRSA, some STD's and the flu are not tracked by the state. They say it would require too much of a doctor's time to fill out paperwork on every case of the common cold that walks into their office.

"We are not responsible as a health department of reporting individual cases, that's not required by doctors or hospitals by law, so we're authorized to investigate outbreaks which is important to remember," says Matt Richardson, the director of Public Health in Amarillo. 

Richardson says in the case of MRSA, unless it poses a major threat they won't track cases.

"Public health is more concerned with outbreaks, that's where public health can be most helpful is to suggest interventions to prevent the specific spread of the disease," says Richardson.

The state health department says there is some early discussion to add MRSA to the notifiable list. The Health and Human Services Commission would have to approve it, before area hospitals are required to report it.

If you would like to see which diseases need to be reported by law, log onto:

http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/investigation/forms/101A.pdf

 

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