Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) and Microbial Resistance

DOH Health Advisory: Candida auris reported in Washington - Local Transmission Suspected. C. auris, an emerging often multidrug-resistant fungal pathogen, has caused outbreaks that are difficult to control in healthcare facilities.

A healthcare-associated infection and Antimicrobial Resistance (HAIAR) is an infection that develops during, or soon after, receiving healthcare services or being in a healthcare setting. These settings include hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices, surgery centers, nursing homes, or home-care visits by a health professional. These infections are a serious problem, and many are preventable. On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection.


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About the Healthcare Associate-Infections Program

Unraveling the complexities of Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) is our core mission. Dive into our program's initiatives, where expertise meets dedication to enhance patient safety and redefine healthcare practices in Washington.

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Healthcare-Associated Infections Advisory Committee

The Department of Health coordinates the Healthcare-Associated Infections Advisory Committee. This committee advises the HAI & AR Program on a range of issues from tracking of HAIs to readiness efforts for special pathogens (e.g., Ebola, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). The Advisory Committee meets multiple times a year and is facilitated by the department HAI Program.

The Advisory Committee is comprised of members from varied sectors of healthcare and the public. Members include: infection preventionists,epidemiologists, licensed healthcare providers, healthcare quality improvement and infection prevention professionals, local public health, healthcare consumer advocates, and the public.

Washington State Plan for Healthcare-Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance (2022-2027) 

The Department of Health, in collaboration with a workgroup of Advisory Committee members, developed a five-year plan for HAI and AR work across Washington (PDF). This plan will help to guide the work of DOH and our partners in addressing healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance in our state.

Program Activities

Beyond routine reporting, our program engages in pivotal activities. From legislative advisories to implementing breakthrough initiatives, we're committed to elevating epidemic disease preparedness. Explore our multifaceted endeavors that redefine healthcare standards. Biennially, we advise the Washington State Legislature on reporting requirements and HAI & AR issues.

Beginning in 2021, we are working with the Department of Social and Health Services to implement SHB 1218 which will improve epidemic disease preparedness and response capabilities in long-term care facilities.

Hospital Infection Rate Reports

Visit our HAI reports page and interactive map showing hospital infection rates for CLABSI, SSI, and Clostridium difficile.

Common Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) and Antimicrobial Resistance (ARs)

Beyond statistics lie stories of resilience and prevention. Discover the major HAIs we meticulously track, from Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) to Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Knowledge is the key to proactive healthcare.

Some major HAIs that are tracked include:

Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections

Infections that occur with a central line are called Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSI).

Surgical Site Infections

Infections that occur after surgery are called Surgical Site Infections (SSI).

How can I prevent an HAI?

Empowerment starts with knowledge. Be an active advocate for your health, from understanding the signs of infection to promoting hand hygiene. Uncover the proactive steps that put you in control of preventing Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs).

Be informed, be empowered, be prepared!

  • Be an active member of your health care team—speak up!
  • Clean your hands. Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer. To wash your hands, rub your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Key times to clean your hands are - after blowing your nose, after using the toilet, and before eating or touching food.
  • Ask all health care workers and visitors to clean their hands before touching you.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of infection.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions.
  • Get smart about antibiotics. Ask if tests will be done to make sure the right antibiotic is prescribed.
  • If your family or friends have a cold or the flu, ask them to refrain from visiting you in the hospital until they are feeling better.

Patient Safety

Explore our insights into patient safety, tailored for both families and healthcare providers. Arm yourself with CDC-endorsed guidelines and resources, ensuring a secure healthcare journey.

For you and your family

NHSN Data and Reporting

In the digital age, data drives progress. Dive into our commitment to transparent reporting, understanding the intricacies of Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs). Join us on the data-driven journey towards a safer healthcare landscape. More about NHSN Data Reporting

HAI Reporting Requirements

Behind every statistic is a commitment to accountability. Uncover the reporting requirements for HAIs, ensuring that essential data shapes our collective efforts. Explore the specifics of reporting, from CAUTI to Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) infection.

Reporting Dashboards

National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Support

For a comprehensive list of all NHSN support options the HAI Epi Team can provide, see the NHSN Support and Technical Assistance for Skilled Nursing Facilities (PDF)

Washington State HAI Law

Washington State law requires hospitals to report certain HAIs to the Department of Health.

Revised Code of Washington (RCW 43.70.056) and Washington Administrative Code (WAC 246-440-100) establishes HAI reporting requirements for hospitals licensed by the Department of Health.

Hospitals that are reimbursed for care by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are required to report additional HAIs and patient safety measures to CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Hospitals are required to report the following infections to the Washington State Department of Health:

Hospitals that are reimbursed for care by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are required to report additional HAIs and patient safety measures to CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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