HHS has unveiled a plan to reduce and possibly eliminate healthcare associated infections (HAIs). The “Action Plan to Prevent Health Care Associated Infections” lists areas where HAIs can be prevented and also outlines cross agency efforts to initiate HAI prevention efforts.
In addition to the tremendous toll on human life, the financial burden attributed to these infections is staggering. CDC estimates that 1.7 million HAIs occurred in U.S. hospitals in 2002 and were associated with 99,000 deaths. CDC also estimates that HAIs add as much as $20 billion to healthcare costs each year.
The plan includes:
- Developing national benchmarks
- Prioritizing and recommending ways for clinical practices to implement and adhere to practices in hospitals
- Producing a coordinated research agenda to strengthen the science
- Initiating a national messaging plan to build partnerships among stakeholders
- Finding ways to evaluate compliance with infection control practices in hospitals
HHS plans to respond to comments from the public and to any new recommendations for infection prevention. HHS plans to hold meetings in 2009 to discuss many of the ideas. The dates for the meetings will be posted on the web site. The plan and instructions for submitting comments on the plan can be found online at www.hhs.gov/ophs.