HHS Secretary Issues Statement on HAI Prevention Progress

The secretary of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department, Kathleen Sebelius, has issued the following statement:  “Today, we are releasing a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which shows our nation is making progress toward eliminating healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) that kill almost 100,000 Americans each year. The report today focuses on central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI), serious infections that can cause death in hospitalized patients and an estimated $2.7 billion in added cost to the U.S. healthcare system. 

“The First State-Specific Healthcare-Associated Infections Summary Data Report demonstrates that the steps we’re taking to reduce these often-preventable infections are working. Using new data from CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), it shows an 18 percent decrease in national CLABSI incidence. This reflects the hard work and dedication of those working towards CLABSI prevention. And we hope that all states and healthcare facilities will be motivated to continue and strengthen efforts for preventing CLABSIs.

 “As we build on those efforts, this report is also a benchmark for progress on the national goals outlined in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections (http://www.hhs.gov/ophs/initiatives/hai/). On a state level, this report can serve as a baseline from which we can assess the impact of state-based HAI prevention programs, including those funded by the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

“All 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico recently published state action plans to reduce HAIs (http://www.cdc.gov/hai/HAIstatePlans.html).Within HHS, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and CDC are working with professional organizations, state health departments and hospital associations to further reduce bloodstream infection rates through initiatives such as the “On the CUSP: Stop BSI.” Other federal agencies, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, are implementing strategies to eliminate HAIs at the national and state levels.

“In the months to come, we will continue to strengthen our collaborative efforts to achieve the goals set forth in the HHS Action Plan to reduce HAIs.

“We will also continue to expand access to healthcare data for policy-makers, providers, and consumers so they can all make the most-informed health decisions possible.  This administration is firmly committed to promoting transparency in our healthcare system so that we can know what’s working, what’s not, and how we can do better.”

The First State-Specific Healthcare-Associated Infections Summary Data Report is available at http://www.cdc.gov/hai/statesummary.html.