Nevada Update: AANA Working With CDC on Infection Control Issue
In the wake of the recent hepatitis C outbreak in Nevada
, the AANA continues to take aggressive action to correct infection control problems related to unsafe injection practices by healthcare providers.
On April 4, 2008, AANA President Wanda Wilson, CRNA, PhD, MSN; AANA Executive Director Jeffery Beutler, CRNA, MS; and AANA Senior Director of Federal Government Affairs Frank Purcell, BS, met with officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Ga., to review the infection control problems that led to the Nevada situation and other recent infectious disease outbreaks around the country, and to develop plans for preventing their recurrence. The AANA and CDC agreed that these situations are preventable and should be "never-events."
"By all indications, the dangerous practice of reusing syringes is alarmingly common among nurse anesthetists, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare professionals who give injections," said AANA President Wanda Wilson, CRNA, PhD, MSN. "While the situation in Nevada allegedly involved nurse anesthetists, other incidents in the last year involved anesthesiologists and other healthcare providers. So to truly address this critical patient safety matter, it will require the cooperation of the nation’s many healthcare professional associations, drug and product manufacturers, and regulatory agencies such as the CDC and Food and Drug Administration. Difficult issues will need to be addressed and solutions agreed upon, among them proper sterile technique for injections across all specialties, consistent labeling of medication vials, and best approaches for educating healthcare professionals in the area of infection control."
Key among the many plans formulated at the meeting is the agreement between the AANA and CDC to co-sponsor, along with other stakeholders, a national summit meeting to address the appropriate handling, administration, and labeling of parenteral medications.
On April 21, Wilson, Beutler, AANA Region 5 Director Todd Herzog, CRNA, ARNP, Nevada Association of Nurse Anesthetists (NVANA) President-elect Steven Sertich, CRNA, MAE, JD, and AANA Senior Director of Communications Christopher Bettin, MA, attended an all-day public hearing conducted by the Nevada Legislative Committee on Health Care in Las Vegas. Wilson provided written and oral testimony to the committee, including information on the AANA/CDC’s meeting and plans. Other presenters included representatives from the CDC, Nevada Health Department, Nevada Nurses Association, Nevada Board of Medical Examiners, law enforcement officials, and members of the public.
Prior to the April 21 hearing, Herzog, Sertich, and Beutler had attended a public hearing before the Nevada Legislative Committee on March 24. For several hours, victims of the hepatitis C outbreak, as well as concerned members of the public, came to the microphone to ask questions or voice their frustration, anger and fears.
Finally, on April 16, at the end of the Mid-Year Assembly, a contingency of NVANA members were joined by Purcell and other members of the AANA Washington, D.C., office for a productive meeting with the senior health staff to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). The Nevada situation, the AANA/CDC meeting, and related topics were discussed in detail.
Information about the summit and other initiatives related to the Nevada situation will continue to be reported in the AANA NewsBulletin
and at www.aana.com