HHS Recognizes Progress Toward Eliminating HAIs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recognized 37 hospital and healthcare facilities May 2 for their efforts to prevent and eventually eliminate healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), a leading cause of death in the United States.

HAIs are infections that are acquired while patients are receiving medical treatment for other conditions. At any given time, about 1 in every 20 patients has an infection related to their hospital care. These infections cost the U.S. healthcare system billions of dollars each year and lead to the loss of tens of thousands of lives. In addition, healthcare-associated infections can have devastating emotional, financial and medical consequences.

"People enter a hospital expecting to get healthier, not sicker," says assistant secretary for health, Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH. "We applaud hospitals for their efforts in improving the quality and safety of healthcare for all Americans."

The organizations are the first to be honored as part of a new national awards program to highlight successful and sustained efforts to prevent healthcare-associated infections, specifically infections in critical care settings. This initial set of awards recognizes critical care professionals and healthcare institutions for their efforts to reduce, and eventually eliminate, ventilator-associated pneumonia and bloodstream infections associated with central intravenous lines.

HHS partnered with the Critical Care Societies Collaborative (CCSC) to develop the awards program. CCSC is a multidisciplinary organization that promotes the exchange of ideas about critical care practice and ICU patient care among leaders from medicine, nursing, pharmacy and respiratory therapy.

Ten recipients were recognized May 2 during the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition in Chicago. The remaining 27 recipients will be recognized throughout the year at the conferences of CCSC member societies.

Awards were conferred on two levels, according to specific criteria tied to national standards. The "Outstanding Leadership Award" went to teams and organizations that sustained success in reaching their targets for 25 months or more. The "Sustained Improvement Award" recognizes teams that demonstrated consistent and sustained progress over an 18- to 24-month period.

Initial award recipients are:

Achievements in Eliminating Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia and Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections

Outstanding Leadership Award

St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Mercy Hospital ICU, St. Paul, Minn.

North Shore-LIJ Health System, New York, N.Y.

Riverside Methodist Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

Sustained Improvement Award

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass.

Detroit Medical Center, Detroit, Mich.

Lakeland HealthCare, St. Joseph, Mich.

Norman Regional Health System, Norman, Okla.

Salem Health Critical Care Services, Salem, Ore.

Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis, Memphis, Tenn.

Achievements in Eliminating Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections

Outstanding Leadership Award

Yale-New Haven Childrens Hospital Newborn Special Care Unit, New Haven, Conn.

HealthPark Medical Center Open Heart ICU, Ft. Myers, Fla.

University of Michigan Hospitals & Health Centers Critical Care Medicine Unit, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Childrens Hospital & Clinics of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.

Stony Brook University Medical Center, East Setauket, N.Y.

Rome Memorial Hospital, Rome, N.Y.

Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allentown, Penn.

Cook Childrens Medical Center, Fort Worth, Texas

Sustained Improvement Award

Childrens National Medical Center, Washington, D.C.

Howard County General Hospital, Baltimore, Md.

Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, N.Y.

Akron Childrens Hospital NICU, Akron, Ohio

Cleveland Clinic Cardiovascular ICU, Cleveland, Ohio

Medina Hospital ICU, Medina, Ohio

Achievements in Eliminating Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia

Outstanding Leadership Award

Seton Medical Center, Daly City, Calif.

University Hospital, Augusta, Ga.

St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center, New York, N.Y.

Johnson City Medical Center, Johnson City, Tenn.

Baylor University Medical Center Truett ICU, Dallas, Texas

St. Lukes Episcopal Hospital, Houston, Texas

Sustained Improvement Award

St. Joseph Hospital Orange, Orange, Calif.

Huntington Memorial Hospital, Pasadena, Calif.

Palmdale Regional Medical Center, Palmdale, Calif.

Saint Annes Hospital, Fall River, Mass.

Carolinas Medical Center NeuroSurgical ICU, Charlotte, N.C.

Highland Hospital ICU, Rochester, N.Y.

Providence St. Mary Medical Center, Walla Walla, Wash.

"These awards strive to motivate clinicians, hospital executives, and facilities to improve clinical practice so the healthcare community can not only reduce, but eventually eliminate healthcare-associated infections," says Justine Medina, RN, MS, AACN director of professional practice and programs. "The awards recognize teams of critical care professionals whose notable achievements lead the way toward achieving this goal."

Last month, HHS launched the Partnership for Patients, a new national partnership with hospitals, medical groups, consumer groups and employers that will help save lives by preventing millions of injuries and complications in patient care over the next three years. HHS has set a goal of decreasing preventable hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent (compared with 2010 rates) by the end of 2013. Achieving this goal should result in approximately 1.8 million fewer injuries and illnesses to patients, with more than 60,000 lives saved over the next three years. The Partnership for Patients has the potential to save up to $35 billion across the healthcare system, including up to $10 billion in Medicare savings over the next three years.