Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is receiving nearly three quarters of a million dollars in federal aid to help in the prevention of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The funding is being made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). TheCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will distribute $40 million dollars to states; New Hampshire’s share totals $757,551.
“Several years ago, New Hampshire recognized that healthcare-associated infections were a growing public health concern,” said Governor John Lynch, “and in 2006 we passed a law mandating hospitals to report their infection rates as well as the measures they use to prevent infections to DHHS. This funding will help further our efforts.”
Healthcare-associated infections are infections patients acquire while receiving treatment for other conditions within a healthcare setting. According to the CDC healthcare-associated infections are one of the top ten leading causes of death in the US. The CDC estimates every year Americans contract 1.7 million infections while being treated in hospitals. These infections are associated with approximately 99,000 deaths each year. In addition to the significant toll on patients’ lives, HAIs represent an estimated $30 billion in added healthcare costs.
“Despite lack of funding DHHS and New Hampshire’s hospitals have worked together to implement this program; all 26 hospitals are now reporting their data to us,” said Public Health Director Dr. José Montero. “These federal funds will go along way in enhancing our efforts including our ability to track and validate the data we receive. From that data we’ll produce reports that will be used to implement HAI reduction strategies at New Hampshire hospitals that ultimately will help save lives.”
Prevention efforts will focus on HHS priority targets such as bloodstream infections and surgical site infections, and will address pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (C. diff). The investment represents the first time Congress has appropriated HAI prevention funds specifically to states.