Each year, Americans contract 1.7 million infections while being treated in hospitals. These infections are associated with about 99,000 deaths annually.
A new initiative in Kansas aims to better understand how health care-associated infections occur and what can be done to stop them.
HAIs are infections that patients acquire while receiving treatment for another medical or surgical condition. They can occur in all settings of care, including hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, clinics and long-term care facilities.
The state plans to launch a surveillance system to monitor HAIs and a formal evaluation of existing programs to reduce their impact.
To start the project, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment will receive about $576,000 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The money is part of $40 million in Recovery Act funding to help states fight HAIs, marking the first time that Congress has appropriated HAI prevention funds specifically to states.
“Health care-associated infections are a serious public health concern and are being increasingly recognized as contributing significantly to health care costs,” said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, state health officer.
According to the CDC, HAIs represent an estimated $30 billion in added health care costs.