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To Virginia Mason Patients,

MRSA Resources 

We have heard from our patients that The Seattle Times investigative series "Culture of Resistance" about hospitals and MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) has many people concerned about patient safety in Washington state. At Virginia Mason Medical Center, our highest priority is keeping our patients safe.

That's why we're pleased this series has garnered such broad attention. It gives us an opportunity to share important information about infection control, quality and patient safety at Virginia Mason.

Virginia Mason has a strong history of aggressive infection control practices. We are actively engaged with the Washington State Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and others to identify and deploy ways to control MRSA and prevent its spread in hospitals. Infection control is important to us. We were the first hospital in the nation to implement a mandatory influenza immunization for all staff to ensure the safety of our patients from flu, which claims 36,000 lives every year in this country.

In recent years, MRSA has captured the attention of the medical community, as well as the media. MRSA is an infection that is resistant to many antibiotics and is difficult to treat. It can easily spread through contact, which is why attention to infection control is so critical to patient safety. At Virginia Mason, we've put measures in place to help ensure staff members follow proper procedures for every patient, every time. We also screen high-risk patients in our Critical Care Unit for MRSA and take precautions to prevent its spread. We know more can be done. That's why one of our key priorities for 2009 is to eliminate hospital-acquired infections of multiple drug-resistant organisms like MRSA.

Every one of us, from doctors and nurses to patients and family members, has an important role in helping prevent the spread of infection in hospitals. Let me personally assure you that MRSA, infection control, quality and patient safety are matters we take very seriously here at Virginia Mason. We always put the health and well being of our patients first; nothing is more important.


Gary S. Kaplan, MD
Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO

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