CDC Statement: Public Reporting of Healthcare-Associated Infections

Feb. 2, 2010--Recently, several state health departments and Consumer Reports magazine released summaries of infection rates in healthcare facilities. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes public reporting of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) is an important component of national HAI elimination efforts.  Research shows that when healthcare facilities are aware of their infection issues and implement concrete strategies to prevent them, rates of certain hospital infections can be decreased by more than 70 percent.

"Eliminating healthcare-associated infections is a top priority for CDC," said Dr. Denise Cardo, director of CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. "The tracking and reporting of healthcare-associated infections is an important step toward healthcare transparency.  Infection data can give healthcare facilities, patients and public health agencies the knowledge needed to design and implement prevention strategies that protect patients and save lives."
HAIs are not only a problem for individual healthcare facilities - they represent a public health issue that requires many people and organizations to work together in a comprehensive effort to attack these largely preventable infections.  CDC is working with partners and states to implement infection prevention tools and increase their use of the agency's National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).  This network is a surveillance system that allows HAI data to be tracked, analyzed and shared to maximize prevention efforts.

In 2003, CDC's Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) published guidance to states for implementation of HAI public reporting. Currently, 28 states have implemented public reporting laws, 21 of which utilize NHSN for their reporting requirements. CDC works to assist facilities and states working under a legislative mandate.  CDC's collaborations with several states have demonstrated that implementing CDC's HAI prevention guidelines and using NHSN to monitor progress can achieve major decreases in HAIs.  Recent investments through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act are furthering this mission toward HAI elimination.

For HICPAC's guidance on public reporting of HAIs: