The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) says it is encouraged by the final rule announced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Under the conditions of the final rule released July 30, hospitals that accept Medicare patients are to report their central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) to CMS through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). Once reported, CMS will release this information to consumers on their Hospital Compare Web site.
APIC has issued the following statement: "APIC is encouraged by the acceleration toward transparency. This is a major step forward in improving the quality of patient care and is consistent with APICs position that greater transparency can lead to better health outcomes. Our association applauds the CMS plan for the required use of NHSN data. This represents a major advancement toward replacing the reliance on administrative/coding data. Because NHSN data is collected in a standardized fashion, using standardized definitions, it provides consumers with the most accurate and reliable information about their healthcare facilities. APIC believes that NHSN is the best currently available method for establishing a scientifically meaningful reporting and monitoring system for HAIs. APIC is pleased that CMS is rolling out these changes incrementally, starting with reporting CLABSIs in 2011. Now, more than ever, hospital administrators need to support the new rule by providing ample infection prevention staff, coupled with automated surveillance technology, thereby empowering infection preventionists to lead the interventions that will reduce infections. The new reporting requirement is also in alignment with a recent campaign launched by APIC called 'I Believe in Zero CLABSIs' in which APIC members are called upon to collaborate with direct care providers to increase use of evidence-based measures to prevent these infections. Research demonstrates that nearly all CLABSIs are preventable when a standard, evidence-based process is consistently applied. APIC believes that all institutions should be adopting evidence-based interventions to reduce HAIs and ensuring that infection prevention measures are consistently reinforced and applied."