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CLABSI Prevention Collaborative of New Mexico Holds Outcomes Congress to Celebrate Achievements to Date

Central lines can be life savers. They provide a way to administer therapies to patients who are critically ill. However, central lines also provide a way for microorganisms to get into the patient’s bloodstream which can lead to prolonged hospital lengths of stay, readmissions, adverse reactions to antibiotics, and even loss of life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) affect approximately 250,000 patients in the United States each year. The cost to treat these infections can range from $5,734 to $22,939 per patient.

The CLABSI Prevention Collaborative of New Mexico was formed in April 2010 to help participating hospitals develop surveillance standards and best practices for managing central lines, educate patients and providers, share knowledge and by working together, ultimately decrease the rate of CLABSIs. The Collaborative held its Outcomes Congress on February 10 to highlight accomplishments through posters and presentations and to recognize the work of the participating hospitals. More than half of the hospitals in the state are participating in this Collaborative. Participants include:

  • Dr. Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital (Tucumcari)
  • Gallup Indian Medical Center (Gallup)
  • Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center (Alamogordo)
  • Heart Hospital of New Mexico (Albuquerque)
  • HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital (Albuquerque)
  • Holy Cross Hospital (Taos)
  • Kindred Healthcare (Albuquerque)
  • Lovelace Medical Center – Downtown (Albuquerque)
  • Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital (Albuquerque)
  • Lovelace Women’s Hospital (Albuquerque)
  • Lovelace Westside Hospital (Albuquerque)
  • Memorial Medical Center (Las Cruces)
  • MountainView Regional Medical Hospital (Las Cruces)
  • Nor-Lea General Hospital (Lovington)
  • Plains Regional Medical Center (Clovis)
  • Presbyterian Hospital (Albuquerque)
  • Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affair (VA) Medical Center
  • Roosevelt General Hospital (Portales)
  • San Juan Regional Medical Center (Farmington)
  • Sierra Vista Hospital (Truth or Consequences)
  • Socorro General Hospital (Socorro)
  • Specialty Hospital of Albuquerque
  • University of New Mexico (UNM) Hospitals (Albuquerque)

“These hospitals formed teams, created goals, collected data for selected units and implemented changes. Their progress was shared in collaborative meetings and conference calls.” said Anne Timmins, BChD, MPH, project manager with the New Mexico Medical Review Association (NMMRA), the organization that is coordinating Collaborative efforts.

The Collaborative aims to increase the use of evidence-based practices for line insertions to reduce the incidence of CLABSIs. Examples of such practices include observing and better documenting central line insertions, making infection-control kits and carts more available, and using standardized checklists to ensure that line insertions follow recommended guidelines. Last year, Collaborative participants reported using a standardized checklist in 89 percent of CLABSI procedures; they are working to raise this number to 100 percent.

Participating hospitals are also provided training and support for collecting and submitting their CLABSI data to the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). NHSN is a secure, Internet-based surveillance system where hospitals and other health care providers can submit surveillance data on a variety of health care-associated infections (HAIs), and receive reports to help them follow national trends in preventing these infections. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is now requiring hospitals with intensive care units (ICUs) to report all CLABSIs to NHSN so as to qualify for Medicare payment updates. As of January 21 of this year, the number of hospital units that report on CLABSI rates through NHSN doubled compared to last year.

The CLABSI Collaborative is the first HAI prevention initiative to be funded by the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant received from the Department of Health and Human Services. The grant supports the overall state HAI plan for surveillance, response, reporting, and education for HAIs.

The CLABSI Collaborative is led by a steering committee of clinical and program experts who provide support to the participating teams. The work of the steering committee is aligned with the state-appointed HAI Advisory Committee, which provides guidance to NMDOH in the implementation of the state HAI plan. Members of the CLABSI Collaborative Steering Committee include representatives from:

  • UNM Health Sciences Center and Hospital
  • New Mexico Veterans Affairs Health Care System
  • New Mexico Hospital Association
  • Presbyterian Hospital
  • Heart Hospital of New Mexico

A similar effort, aimed at reducing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in New Mexico was funded by the Cardinal Health Foundation and CMS in 2008-2009. The MRSA collaborative, led by the UNM Health Sciences Center and NMMRA, achieved a 48-percent reduction in the rate of hospital-associated MRSA bloodstream infections over a 12-month period.

For more information on the CLABSI Collaborative, visit Reducing Healthcare-Associated Infections in Hospitals.

For more information on the NMDOH’s HAI efforts, visit