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IHS Publishes Indian Health Manual Chapter on Infection Control and Prevention

The Indian Health Service has published a new chapter in the Indian Health Manual – IHM Chapter 3-33, Infection Control and Prevention – marking an important step in the standardization of an agency-wide Infection Control and Prevention Program. This chapter establishes the program policies, procedures, and responsibilities required for ensuring a comprehensive program exists in all IHS health care facilities and service units. An ICP program is required to meet and maintain readiness with applicable health care accreditation standards.

This chapter applies to IHS health care facilities, including hospitals and ambulatory care, and employees. Tribally-operated health care facilities may also choose to adopt this policy. As used in this policy, ICP refers to preventing, monitoring, and responding to the risk and outcomes of infectious diseases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health care-associated infections account for significant morbidity and mortality in the United States. A robust and dynamic infection control program is critical to the health and safety of patients, visitors, and staff of IHS facilities, and requires the engagement and commitment of all IHS health care personnel. This chapter includes content consistent with numerous standards and guidelines, including the CDC Core Infection Prevention and Control Practices for Safe Healthcare Delivery in All Settings.

The publication of this chapter supports the mission of the agency to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level.