Yesterday California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed two bills into law that will inform patients about infection rates and require hospitals to adopt stronger infection control measures. In 2007, his administration estimated that approximately 240,000 patients admitted to California hospitals each year develop a hospital acquired infection.

One bill (SB 1058), “Nile’s Law,” requires hospitals to report their infection rates to the California Department of Public Health which will be published on the health department’s website by 2011. Hospitals must develop better infection control procedures and training programs. Also, Nile’s Law requires California hospitals to screen certain high-risk patients for the antibiotic-resistant superbug MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant staph aureus). This newly signed law makes California the 25th state to require public reporting of hospital acquired infections and the 4th state to require antibiotic-resistant MRSA screening of certain patients.

Nile’s Law is named in honor of Carole Moss’s 15-year-old son, Nile, who died from a MRSA infection after a visit to the hospital where he was getting an MRI. Carole has fought to keep Nile’s story alive so that other patients could be more informed. Watch her interview about Nile here.

The second bill (SB 158) signed expands the responsibilities of the Department of Health’s hospital infection advisory committee by requiring the constant monitoring and evaluation of hospital infection prevention strategies, including more detailed training of infection control staff. And my favorite: a facility-wide hand hygiene program.

We are thankful to all the California advocates who helped ensure this hard-fought victory!