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Story by Adam Crawford of The Daily Times - August 8, 2021

Blount Memorial Hospital has reached a MRSA milestone — a full year without a MRSA infection.

MRSA is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “a cause of staph infection that is difficult to treat because of resistance to some antibiotics.”

The CDC adds that “staph infections — including those caused by MRSA — can spread in hospitals, other health care facilities, and in the community where you live, work, and go to school.”

Because of MRSA’s ability to spread through a health care facility, Blount Memorial’s full year without a single infection is a cause worth celebrating, hospital officials said. “It’s truly, truly an outstanding accomplishment by our medical staff and our nursing staff,” Blount Memorial Chief Medical Officer Dr. Harold Naramore said. “There are very few hospitals in our country that can say that.”

The milestone comes just over a year since MRSA infections tanked the hospital’s Leapfrog score.

The Leapfrog Group is an organization that grades hospital safety in more than 2,600 health care facilities nationwide. In spring 2020, Blount Memorial received a D from the organization, a grade that was significantly impacted by MRSA infections.

At the time, Naramore attributed the hospital’s low score to how CDC calculates the infections and reassured Blount County residents that the hospital was already taking steps to address the issue. “The CDC uses a calculation to predict the amount of MRSA infections a hospital will have over a given period of time,” Naramore said at the time. “Our score reflects that we had more infections than were expected using this calculation. MRSA rates across the state are high, and the Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) launched an initiative, which we are a part of, to address these rates statewide.”

The THA’s MRSA-reduction campaign included stepping up “basic infection control strategies” such as hand hygiene and disinfection practices throughout the facility. It also stressed the formation of a “multidisciplinary MRSA prevention team” to “identify and engage executive sponsor, physician, nursing and other front-line champions.”

By implementing the strategies outlined in the THA’s campaign, the hospital raised the Leapfrog score to a C.waz “It is a remarkable achievement, particularly for nursing,” Naramore said. “There’s a lot of phases nursing has to do in order to do the appropriate cleansing. It’s a lot of work.”



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