The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has awarded $34 million during the fiscal year 2011 for grants and contracts to hospitals, academic medical institutions, and health care research organizations to expand the fight against health care-associated infections (HAIs).

HAIs, which are bacterial, viral, and fungal infections that patients get during the course of receiving medical care, affect patients in all health care settings including, at any one point in time, one in 20 patients in hospitals. These projects and others funded by the agency help to attain the goals of HHS’ Partnership for Patients initiative, a nationwide public-private partnership that aims to make care safer for patients and reduce unnecessary return visits to the hospital while making care less costly.

"Infections are not an inevitable consequence of health care; they are preventable," said AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy, MD. "With this investment, we are building on proven strategies to give doctors and health care teams the help they need to ensure that patients are safe from infections."

These awards include projects to develop, test, and spread the use of new modules of the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP), a proven method to prevent and reduce HAIs. Since 2008, AHRQ has been promoting the nationwide adoption of CUSP to reduce central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSIs). The new modules target three additional infections that are also areas of focus for the Partnership for Patients: catheter-associated urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, and ventilator-associated pneumonia.

Source: AHRQ