Legislative License to Practice?

I don’t understand how state lawmakers have the license to legislate the use of specific tests and in some cases procedures, without a consensus from the medical community. Yet that’s what’s happening in the Washington State legislature where a requirement that patients in hospitals be screened for resistant staphylococcus is currently being considered, over the objections of the medical community.

Indiscriminate testing is a slippery slope. For example, should we also test all people in nursing homes? How about periodic screening of all health care providers? Caregivers? Visitors? Where does this lead?

Does mandated testing have a role when when the “epidemic” of staph in our hospitals, in Washington State, appears to be coming under control with the incidence of the disease dramatically declining. Should we accept legislative grandstanding that mandates testing and likely expensive expenditures? Or should we consult with and trust our best clinicians and accept their recommendations?

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