FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2013

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461


Kansas Hospitals Doing Well in the Fight Against Healthcare-Associated Infections

WICHITA, Kan. – Today, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) released the first statewide report on healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in Kansas hospitals. This report shows encouraging data reflecting a concerted effort to reduce the occurrence of this public health problem. 

State health officials presented this report to healthcare professionals during the Central Plains Expo in Wichita. The Expo is an annual educational conference and vendor fair geared toward staff and management in infection control, environmental services, sterile processing and materials management.

Largely preventable, HAIs are infections that patients acquire during the delivery of clinical care that were not present upon admission. The report, which is available online at www.kdheks.gov/epi/hai.htm, shows reductions in two important HAIs in intensive care unit settings: central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI). 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, each year, Americans contract 1.7 million infections while being treated in hospitals. These infections cause approximately 99,000 deaths annually. In addition to the significant toll on patients’ lives, HAIs represent an estimated $30 billion in added healthcare costs. 

“Fortunately, we have a robust network of skilled infection preventionists in our healthcare system working tirelessly to improve healthcare quality and patient safety,” said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer. “In Kansas, we are seeing progress in the reduction of HAIs. The HAI infection data reported today is a significant step forward in the prevention of infection and protection of patients.”

The report suggests that in 2011, Kansas facilities had significantly fewer HAIs than expected. Specifically, data suggest that Kansas facilities had 67 percent fewer blood stream infections from central-line devices and 26 percent fewer urinary tract infections from urinary catheter devices as compared to national reference data. Currently, more than 70 facilities in Kansas (representing more than 95 percent of staffed ICU beds) report data on one or more HAIs to KDHE’s HAIs Program.

“Reductions in these HAIs reflect a strong commitment to patient safety by healthcare facilities throughout the state,” said State Epidemiologist, D. Charles Hunt.

A companion document, specifically designed for patients, was also made available today at www.kdheks.gov/epi/hai.htm.  This resource is intended to empower and engage patients and identifies practical steps patients can take to reduce their risk of acquiring CLABSI and CAUTI when hospitalized. 

The KDHE HAI Program focuses on supporting HAI surveillance and reporting efforts and promotes adherence to nationally based guidelines and recommendations to reduce the occurrence of HAIs. With assistance from a multidisciplinary Advisory Group, comprised of stakeholders with expertise in infection prevention, KDHE has chosen specific HAI metrics and has developed a state-wide plan to quantify and reduce the occurrence of HAIs.
Information about other types of HAIs will be included in future reports.