New York State Department of Health Funds Projects to Reduce Hospital-Acquired Infections

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 9, 2008) – Seven non-profit health organizations will share in more than $1.2 million in funding for demonstration projects that focus on the prevention of infections acquired in hospitals, the state Department of Health announced today.

"Hospital-acquired infections are a major public health problem in the United States, affecting 5 to 10 percent of hospitalized patients nationally each year," said state Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. "More than 1.7 million infections are estimated to be contracted in U.S. hospitals each year, responsible for 99,000 reported deaths."

"We are committed to the prevention and reduction of infections acquired in hospitals across the state," said Commissioner Daines. "Each of these projects involves multiple healthcare facilities collaborating to increase patient safety, and ultimately to the reduction of morbidity and mortality associated with these infections. This investment will drive prevention, control and educational approaches that can be replicated statewide, targeting some of the most dangerous hospital-acquired infections, including drug-resistant infections such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile, bloodstream infections and ventilator-associated pneumonias."

The projects should generate additional knowledge and experience with prevention and control strategies to reduce and eliminate hospital-acquired infections. The demonstration projects will identify potential quality-of-care improvement strategies, systematically implement them, and measure their effectiveness in reducing targeted infections.

The following contractors have been selected to receive funds for collaborative projects to reduce transmission of hospital-associated infections:

Hospital Association of New York State (HANYS), 53 hospitals statewide - $105,023

The Healthcare Educational and Research Fund (HERF), a non-profit subsidiary of HANYS is providing comprehensive educational programs and monitoring the systematic implementation of evidence-based control measures to reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia infections (VAP) in critical care patients. Morbidity and mortality associated with the development of VAP are high, with mortality rates ranging from 20 percent to 41 percent.

Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), 30 hospitals - $174,860

The GNYHA is coordinating the development, implementation, and evaluation of comprehensive evidence-based practices to prevent and control Clostridium difficile (C.diff) infections. C. diff is a multi-drug resistant, toxin-producing bacterium that is responsible for most cases of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. This collaborative initiative is one of the first in the nation to specifically target these infections.

Beth Israel Medical Center, New York City - $199,941

This project is designed to evaluate the impact of obtaining MRSA cultures on patients admitted to critical care units in five hospitals. Although the ultimate goal is reducing MRSA transmission and infection, other objectives include measuring the costs and effectiveness of this strategy, determining if there is a concomitant reduction in the length of stay in the critical care unit or reduction in mortality, and measuring the indirect effects on the incidence of other antibiotic resistant organisms.

New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation (HHC), New York City - $200,000

The HHC project is designed to implement and evaluate multiple strategies to decrease the incidence of hospital-acquired infections associated with multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) in intensive care units patients in six municipal hospitals. Active surveillance cultures, instituting central line protocols and antimicrobial catheters are among the interventions being evaluated.

North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset - $199,996

This project is designed to evaluate MRSA transmission and infection in ICUs by using rapid MRSA detection technology and strain typing of isolates. These new molecular techniques will be used to provide timely and accurate case management of patients with MRSA, determine if and to what extent transmission is occurring, and ultimately to measure the impact on the reduction of MRSA infection in participating ICUs.

University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, Rochester - $192,573

This project is designed to reduce central line-associated bloodstream infections outside the intensive care unit setting using evidence-based protocols for central line insertion and care. The focus of many prior initiatives has been on critical care unit patients. The institution of facility-wide integration and measurement poses multiple challenges. It is hoped that this project will provide reproducible methods and outcomes similar to those seen in critical care units.

Westchester County Healthcare Corporation, Valhalla - $199,991

This project is designed to reduce the incidence of hospital-associated bloodstream infections in intensive care and respiratory care patients. These infections have been found to extend the length of stay and increase costs by up to $40,000 per survivor. Intensive care unit (ICU) patients are at particularly high risk for health care-associated BSI due to a factors including the frequency of central line use and underlying disease state. It is hoped that the use of topical antimicrobial agents will reduce the microbial load on the skin, minimize acquisition of new organisms, and reduce bloodstream infections due to skin flora. Participating hospitals will collect pre-intervention data, educate practitioners to ensure proper use of the antimicrobial, assess skin tolerability, and measure the impact on infection rates.

To be eligible for funding, each applicant had to obtain the collaboration and commitment of at least five participating hospitals. The Hospital-Acquired Infection Reporting Program, established by the Department of Health in 2006, is responsible for the evaluation, selection and oversight of the projects. Projects will be funded for one year, with the possibility of funding renewal for some projects up to four additional years.