CDC to Spend $2.1 Billion on Push to Curb Hospital Infections
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. health authorities plan to spend $2.1 billion to improve infection prevention and control across American health care, by far the largest single such outlay in the country’s history.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to distribute the funds over the next several years to health departments and medical providers, including hospitals and nursing homes. The money was authorized as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan President Joe Biden signed in March.
Money will begin flowing as soon as October to help bolster staff at nursing homes stretched by Covid-19 cases and labor shortages, the CDC said.
Years of recent progress in reducing the spread of pathogens in health-care facilities were reversed during the pandemic. Amid crisis conditions created by Covid outbreaks, U.S. hospitals saw higher rates of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and infections linked to medical equipment like catheters or ventilators.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement that the money “will dramatically improve the safety and quality of the health care delivered in the United States during the pandemic and in the future.”
The CDC estimates that there were 647,000 health-care associated infections in acute care hospitals in 2015, including 72,000 deaths, according to the agency’s most recent estimates.
The funding will go both to help medical providers respond to immediate conditions during the Covid crisis and for longer-term safety improvements in health-care settings.
Starting in October, $500 million will go to deploy “strike teams” to help nursing homes and long-term care facilities with Covid outbreaks, the CDC said. The teams will augment facility staff during shortages and strengthen infection control. They will support the administration of Covid vaccine booster shots, the agency said.
Other funds will help states and other jurisdictions expand their capacity to confront infections in health-care settings; build out lab testing for novel pathogens and antibiotic-resistant bacteria; and train frontline health-care staff.
Some $880 million will go to health-care providers, academic institutions and nonprofits to develop new infection prevention measures, the agency said.
In addition to public-health investments to curb the spread of disease within medical facilities, measures of infection control have long been linked to hospital payments by Medicare.
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