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APIC launches 'Targeting Zero' initiative to eradicate infections deemed preventable by CMS

Washington, DC, December 18, 2007 -- The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) today announced a series of new educational initiatives aimed at eliminating healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), which include Clostridium difficile-associated disease and the three infections that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have classified as preventable occurrences: catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs), central line catheter-associated blood stream infections, and mediastinitis (a deep infection following coronary artery bypass surgery). The APIC programs will provide a comprehensive package of education, research and guidance for infection prevention and control professionals.

As the nations largest infection prevention organization, we are leading an effort to eradicate these infections, said Kathy L. Warye, Chief Executive Officer of APIC. The Targeting Zero Campaign is intended to accelerate both learning and the delivery of practical tools for infection prevention professionals. In keeping with our efforts to create a culture of zero tolerance for non-compliance with measures proven to prevent HAIs, this program will clearly demonstrate to healthcare administrators and clinicians how they can implement effective strategies and simpler systems for protecting patients from these deadly infections.

Launching in January 2008, APICs comprehensive program to address C. difficile will include a prevalence study to gain a better understanding of the scope of the problem. C. difficile is a bacterium that causes diarrhea and more serious intestinal conditions such as colitis. Over the past two years, a new strain of C. difficile has caused hospital outbreaks in several states.

APIC also intends to develop a Guide to the Elimination of C. difficile, including strategies for controlling transmission; an educational Webinar series, and a conference in the fall of 2008, featuring results of the prevalence study, along with the latest science, epidemiology and best practices in the elimination of C. difficile transmission.

To help infection prevention and control professionals address new changes to the CMS regulations which eliminate or reduce payments for three hospital-acquired infections, APIC will offer comprehensive educational programs on each of the three infections, using nationally recognized clinicians to discuss elimination strategies. APIC will also develop an elimination guide with practical implementation strategies for each infection.

We want to prepare infection prevention and control professionals to more effectively educate and influence front-line healthcare teams about process improvements that could ensure safe patient outcomes, said Denise Murphy, president of APIC and Vice President of Safety and Quality, and Chief Patient Safety and Quality Officer at Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis. Leveraging the new CMS Guidelines, we hope to heighten awareness among clinical and administrative leadership about the value of infection prevention. Responding to this challenge requires a blend of research, education and practice guidance -- a combination of activities that APIC is uniquely positioned to undertake. Following our positive experience taking a very comprehensive approach to MRSA in 2007, we plan to launch an aggressive fight against these deadly infections on multiple fronts in 2008.


Contact: Liz Garman
Association for Professionals in Infection Control

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