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CDC Introduces New Way for State Health Departments to Access Data Reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network

Beginning in October 2011, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP) is providing state health departments with additional  access to data reported by healthcare facilities in their jurisdiction to CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). NHSN is a national data tracking system used by CDC and its partners for surveillance of healthcare–associated infections (HAIs), other adverse healthcare-related events, and adherence to prevention practices. For five years, CDC has provided health departments in states with mandatory HAI reporting requirements with access to mandatorily reported data in their jurisdiction. Twenty–eight states currently use NHSN for that purpose. Now CDC is making provisions for health departments — regardless of whether their state has a mandatory reporting requirement — to gain access to data reported from facilities in their state to NHSN that are outside the scope of a state mandate.

The new provisions are designed to allow data access solely for the purposes of surveillance and prevention.  A starting point in discussions between state health departments and CDC’s DHQP comprises the Data Use Agreement (DUA) Template [MS Word - 36 KB].  After a state department of health has worked with CDC’s DHQP to complete a DUA and before the health department begins accessing new NHSN data, DHQP will provide healthcare facilities in the state’s jurisdiction the opportunity to opt–out of voluntary reporting to NHSN. Some healthcare facilities voluntarily report data to NHSN, even in states with HAI reporting mandates. Those facilities will be able to stop their voluntary NHSN reporting before the new data access provisions go into effect. CDC’s DHQP and state health departments want voluntary NHSN reporting to continue wherever possible, while simultaneously enabling health department access to those data for surveillance and prevention programs. The overarching goal of the new access provisions is to enhance the value of data reported to NHSN for public–health purposes.

State departments of health that are interested in entering into a DUA with CDC’s DHQP should review the DUA Template and contact DHQP to schedule an introductory call. DHQP suggests that the initial call include the state HAI coordinator and other health department staff (e.g., epidemiologists), as well as legal counsel who are likely to be involved in discussions with DHQP about a DUA. DHQP requests that state health department staff contact the DHQP Public Health Analyst assigned to their state; this individual should arrange the initial call with DHQP and any follow-up calls related to DUA work.

State Program Consultants and their assigned States & Territories:

Ramona Bennett ( – California, Delaware, District of Columbia (DC), Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Susan Fuller ( – Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming.

Jason Snow ( – Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota,  New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Kim Zimmerman ( - Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

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