HHS healthcare-associated infection reduction plan is open for public comments

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The Department of Health and Human Services is seeking public comments on its updated action plan — which includes efforts in nursing homes — to reduce or eliminate healthcare-associated infections.

When the HAI action plan debuted in 2009, the first phase zeroed in on hospitals, with the second phase focused on ambulatory surgery settings. Phase Three, which tackles long-term care, will start this summer.

The data so far indicates that HHS' efforts are working. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers show that infections have declined in hospital and other acute care settings in the past three years. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections have dropped 7% since baselines were set and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections have declined by 18%.

Despite these successes, the agency is still concerned about historically high rates of Clostridium difficile and MRSA infections that occur outside of hospital settings.

Click here to read the full updated action plan, and here to see the CDC's regional infection rates data.

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