July 28, 2011

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CONTACT: Beth Kaplan, (608) 266-1683


MADISON-State health officials today reported that Wisconsin hospitals participating in a voluntary infection prevention project have achieved significant reductions in healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). 

 The first annual report of the Wisconsin Healthcare-Associated Infections Prevention Project found reporting hospitals saw significant reductions in the occurrence of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) compared to national baseline data from 2006-2008. The hospitals reported these infections dropped 33% in 2009 and 26% in 2010.

A central line is a tube placed in a large vein of a patient's neck or chest to provide certain medical treatments. If not inserted correctly or kept clean, bacteria can enter the body through the central line and cause a serious, sometimes deadly bloodstream infection. 

"This is very encouraging news," said Dr. Henry Anderson, State Health Officer. "Reduction of these serious healthcare-associated infections means patients are safer as they seek medical care in our hospitals.  It's a credit to the hard work of our healthcare partners."

Other report findings include an increase in the number of reporting hospitals since the project began in September 2009.  Some 60 Wisconsin hospitals currently participate in the project. 

Almost 2 million HAIs occur annually in the U.S. and are associated with 100,000 deaths, making them the sixth leading cause of death in the country.  The Department of Health Services started the HAI Prevention Project as a private-public partnership after federal officials declared HAIs a major public health problem. 

DHS monitors statewide HAI rates and supports prevention efforts through partnerships with the Wisconsin Hospital Association and MetaStar, the quality improvement organization for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

"This is a classic example of how a private-public partnership can serve Wisconsin residents," Anderson said.  

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Last Revised:  July 28, 2011

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