Senator Hannon & Commissioner Daines to Hold Roundtable on Strengthening Infection Control Practices

ALBANY, N.Y. (Jan 24, 2008) - Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon and State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. will hold a roundtable discussion on infection control practices by New York health providers on Wednesday, January 30. The roundtable will begin at 9:00 a.m. at Hofstra University in the David S. Mack Hall (University Club). Members of the roundtable will include medical practitioners, educators, and public health experts.

Recently, two Nassau County physicians have been found by the county and state health departments to be reusing syringes. Standard infection control procedures require that a new syringe be used on each patient, and that a new syringe be used when drawing up medication for the same patient from different multiple-dose medicine vials.

Senator Hannon said, "These incidents can undermine the people's trust in their doctors, clinics or hospitals. We must make sure that physicians and their staffs follow all infection-control procedures with every patient. As Health Committee Chairman, I want laws and regulations that make New York the safest place to visit a doctor."

Commissioner Daines said, "I remain concerned that in this day and age there are physicians who are not following infection-control standards. I welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues with Senator Hannon, other physicians and professionals, and to visit Nassau County, where these incidents have upset many people."

All physicians who practice in New York must renew their licenses every four years. State-sanctioned infection control training is required before licenses can be renewed.

Senator Hannon added, "Every New Yorker should continue to have great faith in our health care system. It is our duty during this exercise to utilize our collective wisdom and experience to enhance the system of infection control practices in New York. Our goal is for New Yorkers to confidently know when they access the health care system their interactions will always take place in a safe patient environment. We should expect no less."

Dr. Daines is conducting a full review of the infection-control training curriculum with an eye toward developing curricula for specific specialties, such as anesthesiology. He is sending a letter to all physicians in the state to remind them of the standards they must meet, and has convened an internal health care disease working group to review the progress of epidemiological investigations.