CDC awards nearly $60 million to battle Zika virus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in July announced it would begin making awards totaling nearly $60 million to states, cities and territories to support efforts to protect Americans from the Zika virus disease and adverse health outcomes that can result from Zika infection. The CDC states that while its funding is an important tool to help communities prepare for and respond to infectious diseases like the Zika virus, additional support will be needed to further expand mosquito control capabilities and develop a Zika vaccine and diagnostics.

CMS working on emergency preparedness rule

A representative from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) confirmed at the American Society for Healthcare Engineering’s annual conference in July that it is working on emergency management requirements for hospitals. Rather than include the emergency management chapter of the 2012 edition of the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities Code, of which it recently adopted portions, CMS is preparing its own rule. CMS’ Kristin Shifflett, who was part of a panel discussion on health care facility codes and standards at the conference, did not provide a time frame for when the new rule would be released.

CDC funds $67 million to help prevent HAIs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is providing $67 million to help health departments nationwide tackle antibiotic resistance and other patient safety threats, including health care-associated infections. The new funding for antibiotic resistance also supports seven new regional laboratories with specialized capabilities for rapid detection and identification of emerging antibiotic-resistant threats.

Joint Commission posts checklist for imaging

The Joint Commission recently shared data from survey reports on the most common noncompliant areas related to new and revised diagnostic imaging room standards. Now the organization has released a compliance checklist so that hospitals can perform self-assessments and prepare for on-site surveys. The free downloadable checklist provides Yes/No columns to check off compliance; a comment section to add site-specific notes for each requirement; and sign-offs for individuals to confirm compliance. In addition to patient care and comfort, the checklist covers equipment maintenance and room design issues. 

CDC study shows hand-hygiene effects on HAIs

Researchers recently looked at the effect that increasing hand-hygiene compliance from high to very high could have on health care-associated infections (HAIs). During the 17-month period, the research team at the University of North Carolina Health Care made 140,000 unique hand-hygiene observations as the health system increased its compliance from 82.6 to 95.9 percent. Researchers say they “noted a significant increase in overall hand-hygiene compliance rate and a significantly decreased overall HAI rate, supported by 197 fewer infections and an estimated 22 fewer deaths.” The study will be published in the September issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal.