In August 2007, Illinois passed legislation mandating methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) admission screening for intensive care unit patients. We assessed hospital staff perceptions of the implementation of this law.
Mixed-methods evaluation using structured focus groups and questionnaires.
Eight Chicago-area hospitals.
Three strata of staff (leadership, midlevel, and frontline) at each hospital.
All participants completed a questionnaire and participated in a focus group. Focus group transcripts were thematically coded and analyzed. The proportion of staff agreeing with statements about MRSA and the legislation was compared across staff types.
Overall, 126 hospital staff participated in 23 focus groups. Fifty-six percent of participants agreed that the legislation had a positive effect at their facility; frontline staff were more likely to agree than midlevel and leadership staff (P < .01). Perceived benefits of the legislation included increased awareness of MRSA among staff and better knowledge of the epidemiology of MRSA colonization. Perceived negative consequences included the psychosocial effect of screening and contact precautions on patients and increased use of resources. Most participants (59%) would choose to continue the activities associated with the legislation but advised facilities in states considering similar legislation to educate staff and patients about MRSA screening and to draft clear implementation plans.
Staff from Chicago-area hospitals perceived that mandatory MRSA screening legislation resulted in some benefits but highlighted implementation challenges. States considering similar initiatives might minimize these challenges by optimizing messaging to patients and healthcare staff, drafting implementation plans, and developing program evaluation strategies.