Infection control resources in New York State hospitals, 2007

Rachel L Stricof, Karolina A Schabses, Boldtsetseg Tserenpuntsag
American Journal of Infection Control 2008, 36 (10): 702-5

BACKGROUND: In July 2005, New York State legislation requiring the mandatory reporting of specific hospital-associated infections (HAIs) was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor. In an effort to measure the impact of this legislation on infection control resources, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) conducted a baseline survey in March 2007. This report presents an overview of the methods and results of this survey.

METHODS: An electronic survey of infection control resources and responsibilities was conducted by the NYSDOH on their secure data network. The survey contained questions regarding the number and percent time for infection prevention and control professional (ICP) and hospital epidemiologist (HE) staff members, ICP/HE educational background and certification, infection control program support services, activities and responsibilities of infection prevention and control program staff, and estimates of time dedicated to various activities, including surveillance.

RESULTS: Practitioners in 222 of 224 acute care hospitals (99%) responded. The average number of ICPs per facility depended on the average daily census of acute care beds and ranged from a mean of 0.64 full-time equivalent (FTE) ICP in facilities with an average daily census of < or = 100 beds to 6.5 FTE ICPs in facilities with an average daily census of > or = 900 beds. Averaging the ICP resources over the health care settings for which they were responsible revealed that the "average full-time ICP" was responsible for 151 acute care facility beds, 1.3 intensive care units (ICUs) (average, 16 ICU beds), 21 long-term care facility beds, 0.6 dialysis centers, 0.5 ambulatory surgery centers, 4.8 ambulatory/outpatient clinics, and 1.1 private practice offices. The ICPs reported that 45% of their time is dedicated to surveillance. Other activities for which ICPs reported at least partial responsibility include staff education, quality assurance, occupational health, emergency preparedness, construction, central supply/processing, and risk management.

CONCLUSIONS: This survey was designed to monitor and assess infection prevention and control resources and activities in hospitals as New York State embarks on mandatory public reporting of HAI rates. Monitoring infection control resources and activities will be important as HAI reporting moves forward. The information collected will serve as a baseline, and repeat surveys will be conducted to determine which, if any, of the various indicators correlate with the completeness and accuracy of HAI reporting.

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