Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health

Healthcare Associated Infections

The national goal is to prevent, reduce, and ultimately eliminate healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). South Dakota is actively engaged, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in working to address the issue of HAI prevention.

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According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HAIs are infections that patients get while receiving treatment for medical or surgical conditions. They are among the leading causes of preventable deaths in the U.S. and are associated with a substantial increase in health care costs each year.(1) HAIs occur in all types of care settings, including:

  • Acute care within hospitals
  • Same-day surgical centers
  • Ambulatory outpatient care in health care clinics
  • Long-term care facilities (e.g., nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities)

In hospitals, HAIs lead to extended hospital stays, contribute to increased medical costs, and are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality.

The high-priority objectives address central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections.

Besides these sources of HAIs, several other sources have been identified as major contributors to HAI-related illness and deaths in the HHS Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections. Nearly 3 out of every 4 HAIs in the acute care hospital setting result from one of following types of infection, listed in order of prevalence:

  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections
  • Surgical site infections
  • Bloodstream infections
  • Pneumonia

HAIs are the most common complication of hospital care. (1) However, recent studies suggest that implementing existing prevention practices can lead to a 70% reduction in certain HAIs.

Data in the a new report from AHRQ show that an estimated 50,000 fewer patients died in hospitals and approximately $12 billion in health care costs were saved as a result of reductions in hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) from 2010 to  2013. (2)

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Hand hygiene saves livesAngela M. Jackley, RN
Healthcare-Associated Infections Coordinator
South Dakota Department of Health
740 E. Sioux Ave.  Suite 107
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: (605) 773-5348
Fax: (605) 773-4072


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