Online Program

Local health departments' role in healthcare-associated infection (HAI) outbreaks: Are we ready?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Paul A. Biedrzycki, MPH, MBA, CIH, City of Milwaukee Health Department, Milwaukee, WI
Marisa Stanley, MPH, City of Milwaukee Health Department, Milwaukee, WI
Evelyn Sharkey, MPH, MSW, Health Department, City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee
Lindsey Page, MPH, Health Department, City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) resulted in 722,000 infections and 75,000 deaths in U.S. acute care hospitals in 2011, as reported in a prevalence survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Current predictions are that this trend will increase in the coming decade, primarily due to persistence of organism antibiotic resistance patterns, high numbers of persons seeking medical treatment in acute care settings and lack of adequate prevention education for both patients and healthcare providers.   While the CDC has developed surveillance and monitoring systems along with a preliminary strategy aimed at reducing HAI occurrences in hospitals, little has been done to prepare local health departments (LHDs) for investigation and response to clusters or outbreaks of HAIs in their communities.

From 2013-15, the City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) in partnership with the State of Wisconsin Division of Public Health (DPH) and with support from the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO) sponsored two stakeholder educational symposiums and one table-top exercise to examine public health preparedness and response to an HAI cluster or outbreak.  The overarching goals of these events were twofold: 1) provide HAI awareness in the context of healthcare setting prevention and control, and 2) explore partnership possibilities with invited stakeholders in the development of HAI preparedness and response plans.

Many LHDs are not currently calibrated nor trained to handle unique characteristics and dimensions inherent to HAI outbreaks in community settings such as independent clinics that provide outpatient services.  Furthermore, the types of partnerships required to successfully prepare for and respond to such events have not been fully explored by many LHDs.  HAI and related community clusters and outbreaks represent a new phase of public health emergency preparedness that requires more advanced strategic planning and foresight.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Administration, management, leadership
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe types of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) that are emerging in various community healthcare settings. Delineate key partners for local health departments (LHDs) in preparing for and responding to HAI clusters or outbreaks in a community. Outline the goals and objectives of the CDC/NACCHO table-top exercise designed to enhance LHD preparedness for response to HAI clusters or outbreaks in a community outpatient clinic setting. Explain unique characteristics or attributes in planning for HAI clusters or outbreaks within a community.

Keyword(s): Quality of Care, Emergency Preparedness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I currently serve as Director of Disease Control and Environmental Health for the City of Milwaukee Health Department and involved in both emergency preparedness and communicable and emerging infectious disease control in the community.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.