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Kenny Vigil
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Reduction in Most Healthcare-Associated Infections

The New Mexico Department of Health reports that healthcare facilities in the state are making progress in preventing healthcare-associated infections. Healthcare‐associated infections can be acquired by patients in healthcare settings while receiving treatment for other conditions and are therefore being addressed nationally and in New Mexico as an important prevention target. The New Mexico Department of Health has an initiative to monitor and prevent healthcare‐associated infections and to share those findings with the public annually.

New Mexico healthcare facilities are showing clear progress in improving healthcare personnel seasonal influenza vaccination rates. During the 2014-2015 influenza season, 82.4 percent of healthcare personnel were reported as having received a flu vaccine across 32 inpatient facilities voluntarily reporting data. In addition, ten New Mexico facilities met the national Healthy People 2020 target of 90 percent influenza vaccination for healthcare personnel. Vaccination is one of the best prevention strategies available against seasonal flu. Healthcare personnel vaccination adds to protection for both staff and patients.

New Mexico hospitals performed better than the federal Health and Human Services 2013 target for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) reduction. In 2014, 24 voluntarily reporting hospitals showed 61 percent fewer facility-wide onset bloodstream infections than predicted, based on the 2010 – 2011 national baseline. MRSA infections are caused by bacteria that are resistant to certain types of drugs. Sometimes MRSA can infect the blood and cause serious illness and even death.

“Healthcare facilities in New Mexico are making improvements reducing healthcare-associated infections,” said Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “In some areas, the facilities are exceeding the national targets for reducing healthcare-associated infections. We must continue working collaboratively on prevention control methods and best practices for continued success.”

Central line-associated bloodstream infections data for 2014 showed fewer infections than predicted based on comparison to the 2006 – 2008 national baseline. Hospital non-intensive care units reported 63 percent fewer infections than predicted, which met the federal Health and Human Services 2013 reduction target of 50 percent.  Meanwhile adult and pediatric intensive care units reported 39 percent fewer infections than predicted and neo-natal intensive care units reported 17 percent fewer than predicted. Hospitals can prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections through implementation of proven practices. A central line is a flexible tube that is inserted into one of the large blood vessels that goes into or near the heart and can be used for monitoring purposes, or to give fluids, medical treatments or liquid nutrition. If a central line is inserted incorrectly or not cared for properly, it can cause dangerous bloodstream infections.

In 2014, New Mexico hospitals reported 15 percent more facility-wide onset Clostridium difficile infections than expected based on the 2010-2011 national baseline. In aggregate, New Mexico hospitals therefore did not meet the federal Health and Human Services 2013 target of 30 percent reduction in Clostridium difficile infections. Clostridium difficile are bacteria that cause diarrhea that can quickly lead to more serious complications in people already weakened by other health problems. Reduction of Clostridium difficile infections is challenging due to the need for collaboration among many different types of healthcare facilities and providers. Hospitals and long-term care facilities in New Mexico are using improved antibiotic prescribing, environmental cleaning, hand hygiene, and inter-facility communication in their battle against this spore-forming bacteria.

The New Mexico Healthcare-associated Infections Advisory Committee has released the seventh public report on healthcare-associated infections in New Mexico. The Healthcare-Associated Infections Annual Report 2015, which is available online or in hard copy, includes the above information along with more details on these infections and on specific prevention progress to date.

The Healthcare-associated Infections Advisory Committee is a multi-disciplinary group of key stakeholders and partners providing prevention leadership and guidance which results in cross-facility and cross-community collaborations throughout the state. Members include healthcare facilities, individual infection control and quality improvement professionals, the New Mexico state quality improvement organization (Health Insight New Mexico), the New Mexico Hospital Association, and consumers.

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Reducción de la Infecciones Asociadas a la Asistencia Sanitaria