HealthInsight New Mexico

A Partnership for the Future of Health Care

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

The reduction of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in hospitals is a new topic for Quality Improvement Organization work in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Ninth Scope of Work (9SOW). MRSA is a rising public health issue that crosses all health care settings, and CMS believes its importance to hospitals is heightened in light of new policies where payment for certain adverse events, like hospital-associated infections, that should be avoided while in the hospital will no longer be covered by CMS. 

Under the 9SOW, hospitals are monitoring MRSA-related data by using the Multi-Drug Resistant Organism (MDRO) Module of the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The two MDRO metrics being used are the nosocomial MRSA infection rate (calculated as the number of NHSN MRSA infections divided by 1,000 patient days by selected patient care location or unit) and the incidence rate of hospital-onset MRSA based on clinical culture (calculated as the umber of first positive MRSA cultures divided by 1,000 patient days).

The metrics were chosen in conjunction with the CDC and are considered to be good starting points for hospitals wanting to reduce their MRSA rates. Hospitals participating in this QIO project will share their data for the metrics with NMMRA. The target criterion for hospitals is a 40 percent reduction in each of the two reported MRSA metrics compared to baseline in at least half of reporting units.

In addition to its QIO work, NMMRA assisted the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNMHSC) implement a statewide collaborative aimed at reducing health care-associated bacteremias caused by MRSA. This effort was conducted through a Patient Safety Grant awarded to UNMHSC from the Cardinal Health Foundation. NMMRA also serves on the multi-disciplinary Advisory Committee of the New Mexico Department of Health’s Healthcare-associated Infection Pilot Project and is involved in a variety of HAI prevention collaborative and outreach efforts.

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