Best practices in efforts to eliminate healthcare-associated infections honored in national awards program

May 21, 2012, 11:00 ET from American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

ALISO VIEJO, Calif., May 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --  The Critical Care Societies Collaborative (CCSC), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), today announced awards recognizing 12 hospital and healthcare facilities 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 one 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, HAIs can have devastating emotional, financial and medical consequences.

"Since the 2009 advent of the National Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections, we have seen rapid progress in reducing rates of several infections, especially in intensive care settings," said Dr. Don Wright, deputy assistant secretary for health. "This progress is due in large part to the leadership, dedication and hard work of hospital teams such as those that we honor through the HHS-CCSC awards program. Thanks to you, we are squarely on track to realize most of our national infection reduction targets."

The organizations were honored as part of a national awards program that highlights successful and sustained efforts to prevent HAIs, specifically infections in critical care settings.

Award recipients are able to demonstrate success in reducing and eliminating central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) for 25 months or longer and show national leadership in sharing their evidence-based initiatives to help improve clinical practice.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Office of Healthcare Quality/Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health and Partnership for Patients) partnered with CCSC -- a multidisciplinary organization composed of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society and Society of Critical Care Medicine -- to launch the awards program in 2010.

Awardees were recognized today in Orlando during AACN's National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition. Award recipients (alphabetized by state) are:

  • Neonatal ICU, Doctors Medical Center of Modesto, Modesto, Calif. (CLABSI)
  • Intensive Care Unit, Twin Cities Community Hospital, Templeton, Calif. (VAP, CLABSI)
  • Surgical ICU4East, Shands at the University of Florida, Gainesville (CLABSI)
  • Medical ICU, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City (VAP)
  • Surgical ICU and Trauma Burn ICU, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor (VAP)
  • Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit (CLABSI)
  • Beth Israel Medical Center, New York (CLABSI)
  • Surgical ICU, Roper Hospital, Charleston, S.C. (VAP)
  • MICU/MCCU, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Department of Veterans Affairs, Nashville, Tenn. (VAP)
  • Surgical ICU, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston (VAP)
  • MICU, SICU, Neuro Critical Care "On the CUSP" Teams, Mother Frances Hospital Regional Health Care Center, Tyler, Texas (CLABSI)
  • Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center, Williamsburg, Va. (VAP)

In addition to the 12 awardees, 14 healthcare organizations received honorable mention recognition for their efforts toward eliminating HAIs within their facilities. Facilities receiving honorable mention in this year's awards program are listed online at  

AACN's Director of Communications and Strategic Alliances Ramon Lavandero, RN, MA, MSN, FAAN, noted the potential impact of the awards program. "We developed this awards program to identify best practices in patient care, clinical practice and internal processes so the healthcare community can achieve wide-scale reduction and long-term elimination of healthcare-associated infections," he said. "Through sharing what works, by the end of 2013 we hope to decrease preventable HAIs by 40 percent and save upward of 60,000 lives."

The awards program is part of HHS' efforts to eliminate HAIs. In 2011, HHS launched the Partnership for Patients, a national public-private partnership to make hospital care safer, more reliable, and less costly. By working with hospitals, medical groups, consumer groups and employers, the program focuses on keeping patients from getting injured or sicker and helping patients heal without complication.

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.

For additional information, see the HHS Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections at and the Partnership for Patients at  

About the Critical Care Societies Collaborative: The Critical Care Societies Collaborative (CCSC) promotes the exchange of ideas about critical care practice and ICU patient care among leaders from medicine, nursing, pharmacy and respiratory therapy. This multidisciplinary member organization includes the American College of Chest Physicians, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, American Thoracic Society and Society of Critical Care Medicine. Visit for more information.   

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SOURCE American Association of Critical-Care Nurses