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"Winnable Battles" in Public Health

Initiated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in support of the Department of Health and Human Services and other priorities, the “Winnable Battles” initiative targets some of the nation’s major health challenges by using programs that have demonstrated significant progress in preventing the leading causes of illness, injury, death and disability in the United States.  The Winnable Battles focus is on containing costs and achieving quick and measurable results in specific areas.



Healthcare-Associated Infections

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) sicken one of every 20 hospitalized patients and are caused by a wide variety of bacteria, fungi and viruses. According to the CDC, HAIs account for nearly 1.7 million infections and 99,000 associated deaths each year. Treating the two most common HAIs, sepsis and pneumonia, costs an estimated $8.1 billion annually.  The financial burden of these infections is great, especially for state Medicaid programs. CDC advises that adherence to infection prevention guidelines is necessary to ensure safe care is provided in hospital settings, outpatient surgery centers, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers and community clinics. CDC: Healthcare-Associated Infections

State Role:  
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided states with $50 million for HAI planning and public reporting. At least 27 states require health care facilities to publicly report infections in an effort to improve patient care, increase transparency and reduce costs related to hospital-associated infections. 

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NCSL Resources:
Report: Lessons from the Pioneers: Reporting Healthcare-Associated Infections
Brief: How to Report Hospital Infections

Other Resources:
Duke University Medical Center: Hand Hygiene and the Cost of Hospital-Acquired Infections


HIV and Infectious Consquences of opioids

More than 1 million people in the United States are infected with HIV, and more than 50,000 become newly infected each year. As many as 20 percent of those affected are unaware of their infection. HIV testing is essential to prevention. CDC’s comprehensive HIV surveillance systems not only monitor changes in HIV incidence, prevalence and mortality, but also provide insight into risk factors for HIV infection. The CDC promotes routine testing as a key prevention tool for all adults and adolescents. It recommends annual testing for people who are at increased risk and with each pregnancy for women.  CDC: HIV

State Role:
To encourage HIV testing, most states have confidentiality standards, and laws in 19 states have been changed to make HIV testing more accessible. The Expanded Testing Initiative, funded by the CDC, supports 18 states and five cities to increase HIV testing for all people.  

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NCSL Resources:
LegisBrief: Expanding HIV/AIDS Prevention Efforts
Web Resource: 2010 State Legislation Addressing HIV/AIDS Testing, Disparities in Treatment, Public Education, and Needle Exchange Programs

Other Resources:
National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States
National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors


 Additional Resources:

NCSL Resources:

CDC Resources:

Additional Resources:
Health Affairs:  Evidence Links Increases in Public Health to Declines in Preventable Deaths
The Guide to Clinical Preventive Services