, Volume 27, Issue 7, pp 773-779
Date: 06 Dec 2011

Preventing Hospital-Acquired Infections: A National Survey of Practices Reported by U.S. Hospitals in 2005 and 2009

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Hospital-acquired infection (HAI) is common, costly, and potentially lethal. Whether initiatives to reduce HAI—such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) no payment rule—have increased the use of preventive practices is not known.


To examine the use of infection prevention practices by U.S. hospitals and trends in use between 2005 and 2009.


Surveys of infection preventionists at non-federal general medical/surgical hospitals and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, which are not subject to the CMS no payment rule, in 2005 and 2009.


Percent of hospitals using practices to prevent central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI), ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), and catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI).


Survey response was approximately 70%. More than 1/2 of non-federal hospitals reported a moderate or large increase in CLABSI, VAP and CAUTI prevention as a facility priority due to the non-payment rule; over 60% of VA hospitals reported no change in priority. However, both non-federal and VA hospitals reported significant increases in use of most practices to prevent CLABSI, VAP and CAUTI from 2005 to 2009, with 90% or more using certain practices to prevent CLABSI and VAP in 2009. In contrast, only one CAUTI prevention practice was used by at least 50% of hospitals.


Since 2005, use of key practices to prevent CLABSI, VAP and CAUTI has increased in non-federal and VA hospitals, suggesting that despite its perceived importance, the non-payment rule may not be the primary driver. Moreover, while 65% of non-federal hospitals reported a moderate or large increase in preventing CAUTI as a facility priority, prevention practice use remains low.