Healthcare-Associated Infections

This page has been automatically translated from English. MSDH has not reviewed this translation and is not responsible for any inaccuracies.

Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) are infections acquired by patients during the course of receiving treatment for other conditions within a healthcare setting.

The CDC estimates that on any given day, 1 in 31 hospital patients has an HAI (an infection acquired while being treated in a medical facility). HAIs can have devastating effects on physical, mental/emotional, and financial health. In addition, they cost billions of dollars in added expenses to the healthcare system.

Research suggests that a growing number of HAIs are caused by pathogens (germs) that are resistant to the antimicrobial drugs typically used to fight them.

Prevalence and Reporting

A CDC study has estimated that 3.2% of hospitalized patients in 2014 were affected by a healthcare-associated infection, a significantly lower percentage than observed in a survey conducted in 2011.These results provide evidence of national success in preventing HAIs, particularly surgical-site and urinary tract infections. However, there was no significant reduction in the prevalence of pneumonia or C. difficile infection, or in the percentage of patients with HAIs who died during their hospitalization. There is still work to be done to prevent these types of infections and reduce mortality among patients with HAIs.

U.S. healthcare facilities are required to report certain HAIs to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) via the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). In 2014, MSDH started requiring all healthcare facilities that must report to CMS to allow MSDH access to their data. These facilities include acute care facilities (ACF), long-term acute care (LTAC) facilities, outpatient hemodialysis centers, ambulatory surgery centers (ASC), and inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRF).

HAI Prevention Goals and the HHS HAI Action Plan

The United States has made significant progress toward our collective goal of eliminating HAIs, and as a result healthcare in the U.S. is safer now than it was even 10 years ago. Building upon this success and continuing toward the elimination of HAIs is critical.

In an effort to lower HAIs and promote better health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has set national goals for all HAIs in acute care facilities. These goals are part of the National Action Plan to Prevent Health Care-Associated Infections: Road Map to Elimination (HAI Action Plan). The year 2015 marked the start of new five-year (2015-2020) goals of the HAI Action Plan. The new targets use data from calendar year 2015 as a baseline. These target goals for reduction of healthcare-associated infections are ambitious, but achievable.

Along with targets for HAIs, as part of HHS's Healthy People 2020 initiative, the following additional objectives have been set: to raise healthcare personnel influenza vaccination rates (Phase 2), reduce HAIs in long-term care facilities (Phase 3), and improve antibiotic stewardship (Phase 4).

Target Goals and Progress

Target goals and progress made by 2016 (compared to the new 2015 baseline) are shown below.

MeasureProgress made by 20162020 Target
CLABSI10% reduction50% reduction
CAUTI 6% relative reduction25% reduction
Invasive MRSA8% reduction50% reduction
Hospital-onset MRSA6% reduction50% reduction
Hospital-onset CDI7% reduction30% reduction
SSIData pending release30% reduction
Clostridium difficile hospitalizations (HCUP)Data pending release30% reduction

HAIs Monitored by MSDH

The following types of infections are followed by MSDH via NHSN, along with healthcare personnel influenza vaccination data.

  • central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI)
  • catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI)
  • surgical site infections from colon surgeries (SSI:Colo)
  • surgical site infections from abdominal hysterectomies (SSI:Hyst)
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia
  • Clostridium difficile infections (CDI)

Along with these infections, the List of Reportable Diseases and Conditions includes the following drug resistant organisms that are commonly associated with the healthcare setting.

  • Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE)
  • Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)
  • Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA)
  • Vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VISA)
Last reviewed on Jun 13, 2024 request edits

Related resources

More topics

To view/print PDF documentation you will need Adobe Reader
Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866‑HLTHY4U Contact and information

Facebook Twitter Instagram RSS

Accredited by the national Public Health Accreditation Board