Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Update - May 2019

Minnesota Department of Health

Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Update

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May 2019

In This Edition

The 2019 Minnesota Antibiotic Stewardship Conference was a Success!

On May 13, the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Hospital Association, and Stratis Health hosted the 2019 Minnesota Antibiotic Stewardship Conference. This year, the conference focused on patient and provider education across health care settings. The keynote speaker, Dr. Julia Szymczak, addressed the social determinants of antibiotic prescribing. The conference was recorded and will be available online by the end of May. Thank you very much to our national and Minnesota-based speakers and to our conference attendees for joining an exciting day increasing our knowledge of antibiotic stewardship.

2019 MN Antibiotic Stewardship Conference

Antibiotic Stewardship Policy Writing Workshop for Long-term Care

Have you struggled to write an antibiotic stewardship policy for your nursing home? Are you not quite sure how to write a policy that reflects CDC's Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship for Nursing Homes? Does your facility promote the appropriate use of antibiotics to treat infections and reduce adverse events?

REGISTER NOW – space is limited: Minnesota Antibiotic Stewardship Policy Writing Workshop for Long-term Care

  • Southwest Minnesota: June 27, 2019
    Register by 6/20/19
    Lyon County Government Center; The Commissioner's Room 
    607 West Main Street, Marshall, MN
  • Northeast Minnesota: July 11, 2019
    Register by 7/5/19
    MDH Duluth District Office; Duluth Technology Village 
    11 East Superior Street, Suite 290, Duluth, MN
  • Metro/Twin Cities: July 18, 2019 
    Register by 7/11/19
    Carpenters Union Complex 
    710 Olive Street, Saint Paul, MN

The free, half-day workshop will provide assistance with writing an effective antibiotic stewardship policy or updating a current policy. This workshop will be most beneficial if individuals from the same facility, both clinical and administrative, are able to attend together. This is a unique, hands-on opportunity that will result in a finished or near final product. The Minnesota Sample Antibiotic Stewardship Policy for Long-term Care Facilities (PDF) is a great tool to get started.

Minnesota Centers for Enhanced Response

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recently launched the Minnesota Centers for Enhanced Response (PDF) program. This program intends to establish a partnership between the MDH Infection Control Assessment and Response (ICAR) Program and hospitals to identify high consequence infectious disease (HCID) preparedness gaps.

MDH recognizes that preparing for HCIDs can be a daunting task for frontline facilities. The Centers for Enhanced Response (CER) program offers frontline hospitals the opportunity to self-assess their hospital's overall readiness. The CER assessment can be found in the High Consequence Infectious Disease (HCID) Toolbox for Frontline Health Care Facilities.

Once an assessment is completed, MDH will provide facilities with free HCID resources and follow-up to provide guidance on how to mitigate gaps. There is no specific time commitment required, and MDH will use trends in assessment finding to assist with further resource development.

For questions or comments regarding the CER program or to obtain assistance, send an email to or contact a member of the MDH ICAR team at 651-201-5414.

New Resources Added to Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship Toolkit

Two new resources are now available in the Minnesota Antimicrobial Stewardship Program Toolkit for Outpatient Clinics. ​

Additional outpatient stewardship resources include cough and cold care guides for adults and children, fact sheets, viral prescription pad, commitment posters, waiting room materials, and more.

Clean Hands Keep Patients Safe from Healthcare-Associated Infections

Patients can get infections in the hospital while they are being treated for something else. Did you know that on any given day, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection? Bacteria that cause these infections can spread from health care workers’ hands to patients and surfaces. Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a simple and effective way to prevent the spread of germs that cause serious infections.

In a new post on CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog, Janet Glowitz, PhD, RN, an infection preventionist, explains how Clean Hands Count to Keep Patients Safe from Healthcare Associated Infections and how hand hygiene applies to every type of patient in every health care setting.

CDC's Clean Hands Count Campaign has expanded to include patient and provider educational materials in Spanish and new resources designed to encourage proper hand hygiene in dialysis centers and long-term care facilities. Visit CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings website for additional information and materials.

Drug Diversion: A Growing Patient Safety Problem

Drug diversion and substitution is a growing risk to patient safety, because of the potential harm in exposing patients to bloodborne pathogens. An example of drug diversion could be a health care provider self-injecting, then replacing an injectable medication with another fluid and returning the tampered-with item to a medication cart for patient use.

Hepatitis C Virus Potentially Transmitted by Opioid Drug Diversion from a Nurse, an article published in a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), describes a case from Washington State that underscores the importance of frequent monitoring of staff access to drug dispensing systems.

Stop drug diversion before it starts. Resources are available:

CDC and state and local health departments provide assistance in the investigation of infection outbreaks stemming from drug diversion activities that involve health care providers who tamper with injectable drugs. MDH provides laboratory resources, epidemiological investigation, and support with patient notifications. Contact MDH at 651-201-5414.

CDC's "What You Need to Know About Infection Control" Courses

In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Medscape launched CME from CDC: What You Need to Know About Infection Control. This series of six CME/CE activities addresses the key issues surrounding infection prevention in health care facilities for physicians, nurses, and pharmacists. They are valid for credit for 2 years.

Take the courses now before they expire!

The series includes:

  • Risk Recognition in Healthcare Settings
  • Environmental Services and Infection Prevention
  • Recognizing Infection Risks in Medical Equipment
  • Infection Transmission Risks Associated with Nonsterile Glove Use
  • Infection Prevention: A Hierarchy of Controls Approach
  • Injection Safety: A System Approach

These CME/CE certified activities are available on Medscape. You must be a registered Medscape member to access these CME/CE activities, and registration is free.

AHRQ Funding Opportunity Available for Prevention of HAIs

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is accepting applications for healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) prevention research, HAI prevention demonstration and dissemination, combating antibiotic-resistance bacterial (CARB) research, and CARB demonstration and dissemination.

Find additional details and how to apply on AHRQ's Healthcare-Associated Infections Program website.​

Save the Date and Celebrate U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week: Nov. 18-24

It's not too early to start planning for CDC's U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week (USAAW)! Everyone plays an important part in using antibiotics appropriately. USAAW in an annual one-week observance to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescribing. This year, USAAW is November 18-24, 2019. Be sure to save the date and participate in this event. Look for enhanced antibiotic stewardship messaging from Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and think about how you can highlight the important issue of antibiotic resistance within your own work and life. Make sure you follow MDH on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to help spread the word about USAAW!

Utilize these helpful resources as you prepare for USAAW.

CHAIN Award for Excellence

The Minnesota Collaborative Healthcare-Associated Infection Network (CHAIN) Award for Excellence commends the infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship efforts of health care teams working to build safer health care environments. The awards are presented annually by CHAIN. We hope the lessons learned will provide you with innovative ideas that are useful to you.

FirstLight Infection Prevention and Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee

The FirstLight Infection Prevention and Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee was nominated for the 2018 award. The committee improved antimicrobial stewardship and patient outcomes by reducing inappropriate utilization of fluoroquinolones (FQs). FirstLight's pharmacy resident implemented both electronic and education interventions to improve the appropriateness of utilization. Electronically, health system order sets were updated by deprioritizing FQs and providing alternate guideline-recommended first-line antibiotics. Training was then offered to health system providers, pharmacists, and hospital administration regarding appropriate use. Analysis of appropriateness of FQ utilization yielded a greater than 50 percent reduction in total utilization for pneumonia and COPD.

What is CHAIN?

The Collaborative Healthcare-Associated Infections Network (CHAIN) represents a partnership formed in 2011 between the Minnesota Chapter of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC-Minnesota), the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Hospital Association, and Stratis Health. In early 2017, CHAIN expanded membership to include organizations representing providers across care settings.

CHAIN coordinates across the continuum of health care delivery and supports patients, individuals, and their families to prevent harm from infections acquired in the process of care and combat antibiotic resistance.