Coordinating with Policymakers
Many of the most effective and sustained examples of public health success are supported by effective policies. Recent experiences with emerging and highly infectious diseases like COVID-19 further highlight the need for clarity and consistency in public health and health policy. CDC works to identify policy options and best practices to support healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance (HAI/AR) prevention and improve healthcare outcomes.
State policies are highly variable: in some cases, the variation is necessary to accommodate local needs and resources; in others, the variation is less useful and can lead to local gaps in patient protection across healthcare settings, and particularly across jurisdictions. Greater consistency and harmonization of key policies could improve patient protection nationwide. Additionally, healthcare surveillance data could be made more consistent and actionable across jurisdictions to allow local authorities to move toward seamless patient protection nationally. Agreeing upon and applying basic standards for event reporting and infection control at local, state, and federal levels will provide a better path to improved patient safety and save lives.
There are several approaches that state health departments, state hospital associations and other policymakers have taken to improve sepsis [PDF – 1 Page] prevention and early recognition. This document is intended to be illustrative of some possible approaches that states may consider.
The Outpatient Settings Policy Options [PDF – 37 pages] document and accompanying worksheet [PDF – 5 Pages] are designed to assist state, local, and territorial health departments and policymakers to assess current outpatient policies and consider options for improving practices. The document outlines four key elements recommended by the workgroup and reflect CDC, workgroup membership, and health department experience with healthcare-related outbreaks and quality improvement. Each section contains:
- An explanation of the element and its components
- Sample scenarios highlighting the need for effective practices or strategies
- Potential program improvement options
- Examples of existing policies representative of the elements
- Aids designed to help identify gaps and pursue potential solutions
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and CDC have collaborated since July 2010 to advance health departments’ HAI prevention efforts.
ASTHO and CDC created a toolkit and companion report to provide guidance to senior policy makers on promising ways to use legal and policy interventions as tools in implementing a comprehensive HAI prevention program.
The toolkit, Eliminating Healthcare Associated Infections: State Policy Options [PDF – 38 Pages]provides an inventory of state HAI legislation and examples of legal and policy interventions, which health officials can consider to facilitate HAI prevention. State policies can promote robust state HAI programs and complement federal payment incentives such as CMS’s Value Based Purchasing program.