March 3, 2020

Sen. Pearson at (401) 276-5568


Senate approves Pearson bill requiring hospitals to adopt protocols to identify and treat sepsis


STATE HOUSE — The Senate today approved legislation introduced by Sen. Ryan W. Pearson (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln) that would require hospitals to adopt sepsis protocols.

The legislation (2020-S 2224) would require hospital medical staff to adopt, implement, periodically update and submit to the Director of Health, evidence-based protocols for the early recognition and treatment of patients with sepsis and septic shock.

Sepsis, an extreme reaction to infection that spreads via the bloodstream, kills between 250,000 and 500,000 people in the U.S. annually — more than AIDS, breast and prostate cancers, and stroke combined. Yet fewer than half of Americans have heard of it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“Sepsis exacts a significant toll on human life,” said Senator Pearson. “It has been sudden, tragic and devastating for families that have quickly lost an otherwise healthy family member. There is some pretty compelling evidence that these protocols work in the states that have established them, and it’s time to bring them to Rhode Island.”

Under the proposed legislation, the Director of Health would make information on best practices for the treatment of patients with sepsis and septic shock available to health care practitioners. This would include:

§  An evidence-based screening tool that can be used at initial evaluation of adult and pediatric patients in the emergency department

§  An evidence-based treatment protocol for adult and pediatric patients that includes 19 time-specific treatment goals

§  Nurse-driven testing protocols to enable nurses to initiate care for patients with suspected sepsis

§  Incorporation of sepsis screening and treatment tools into the electronic health record where possible

§  Mechanisms to prompt escalation of care within the facility, and, when appropriate, to stabilize and transfer to a facility able to provide a higher level of care

§  Strategies for appropriate hand-offs and communication regarding the care of patients with sepsis and for the reassessments of patients at regular intervals

§  Hospital specific antibiotic guidelines for use in treating patients with sepsis and a mechanism for reevaluating a patient’s antibiotic treatment based on culture results that provides reassessment and de-escalation of antibiotic treatment when appropriate

§  Staff education on sepsis policies and procedures during the onboarding process and at least annually and when new practice guidelines are published or existing standards are updated to ensure that care reflects current standards of practice.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.






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