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Health Watch Group Urges Increased ‘Superbug’ Reporting

A leader in a Kentucky-based patient advocacy group is calling for more timely information about drug-resistant bacteria cases.  Members of a state legislative health panel got a briefing earlier this month. 

Health Watch USA Board Chair Kevin Kavanagh says Kentucky’s current regulation for reporting multi-drug-resistant bacteria to health officials is very good. 

But, the doctor says, the rule needs to be more fully enacted to get information about “superbugs” to the public.  “That is one of the problems, that we don’t really have, standardized ways of confronting this epidemic,” says Kavanagh.  “And getting more data is crucial.”

The Somerset physician says episodes caused by drug-resistant bacteria are not restricted to hospital settings.  Kavanagh says the bacteria are found in all kinds of health care facilities including nursing homes and health clinics. He points out that the latest solid data on antibiotic use comes from 2012, which he says is “way too old.” 

Kavanagh anticipates a move to more of a consumer driven health care market, as opposed to a highly regulated approach, “We certainly need to get this public data out there, so the public can understand it, but get the data available to the public."

The mission statement for Health Watch USA says it’s an organization aimed at promoting health care transparency, competition, and patient advocacy.  In recent years, Kavanagh has offered testimony several times before Kentucky lawmakers.?

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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