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First anniversary of the Healthcare-associated Infections (HAI) Recovery Act Program

Posted on by Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
Joni Young, MS
Joni Young, MS

Author – Joni Young, MS
CDC’s Healthcare-associated Infections Recovery Act Program Coordinator 

Just over a year ago, I was putting together a team of public health analysts to support state health department healthcare-associated infection prevention programs. We had $40M in grants, 51 new grantees, and 28 months to accomplish what some would say is impossible — to build a national public health infrastructure aimed at eliminating healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). We were overwhelmed by the positive response from state health departments during a summer of H1N1 and other competing priorities. This demonstrated a commitment from the states to prevent HAIs. We began this partnership with a sense that we could accomplish anything with each others’ support. 

September marked the first anniversary of the HAI Program. The 51 grantees funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) (49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico) implemented strategies to prevent HAIs, making healthcare safer across the nation. 

In just 12 months, the HAI Program: 

  • Provided capacity to initiate HAI prevention projects in some states, and resources to build upon existing HAI prevention projects in others.
  • Supported nine Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) infectious disease fellows to focus on HAIs in nine health departments. These individuals are an important addition to their respective HAI programs and this fellowship is helping to build the HAI prevention workforce.
  • Enabled health departments to work more closely and regularly with CDC and healthcare facilities in their regions.
  • Conducted monthly trainings on situation-specific HAI prevention with state and territorial representatives, allowing partners to share successes and challenges that might benefit states in similar situations or stages of program development.
  • Complemented the ARRA work with funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS has provided funding for seven regional HAI administrators. These administrators will work with states and facilities within each region to further activities to reduce HAIs.

In its second year, the HAI Program will continue its momentum. With state and territorial leadership, healthcare facilities will continue to implement HAI prevention strategies and demonstrate results. Four new CSTE HAI fellows are beginning their fellowship.  We are in the final planning phase of our second annual grantee meeting where States will share their successes and lessons learned. 

Check the CDC website for regular updates on the HAI Program, including individual state information:

Have you noticed greater attention to prevention of HAIs in your state’s healthcare facilities? If so, how? If not, what do you think can be done to improve HAI prevention in your state’s healthcare facilities?

Posted on by Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

4 comments on “First anniversary of the Healthcare-associated Infections (HAI) Recovery Act Program”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    I’ve noticed a great improvement since the HAI Program has been put into place, particularly in communication between CDC and healthcare facilities. Keep up the good work and focus Joni!

    Medical Alert Systems

    I am in California. One thing I have noticed the last several times I have been in for check ups is that the old blood pressure cuff that used to go around my arm all the time for the blood pressure reading is not being used any more. They have a new tool that they move across the forhead that takes a computerized blood pressure reading and that part of it that touches the patient can be disposed of after use. This is an improvement since microrganisims could infest the old blood pressure cuffs and be one possible cause of HAIs. There really was no good way to disinfect or steralize the blood pressure cuffs. Another major hospital in Orange County uses a disposable tool they put in your ear to get the blood pressure reading. Another thing I have noticed now is that the doctors and nurses at the facility I go to now put the plastic gloves on when they come into the exam room or before the nurses start to work with you at the nurses screening station. This is a change since it had been that doctors and nurses would put the gloves on before they touched a patient but never did before coming into the exam room. The x-ray technitions also wear gloves from the time they come into the x-ray room to take the pictures. So it has been simple changes but there have been some. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey. [This valued post appears with specific company names omitted.]

    For the last 15 years I have been advocating that the common blood pressure cuff is a source of contamination. Common sense dictates that any object shared by patients is contaminated by whatever germs they carry.
    This issue is no different than handwashing.

    There are low cost disposable covers available for the cuffs that will prevent cross contamination. Why are these devices not mandatory for reduction in nosocomial infections eg. MRSA,VRE,clostridium diff.,SARS etc.

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