The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recognized 37 U.S. hospital and health care facilities for their efforts to prevent hospital-associated infections (HAIs), a leading cause of death in the United States. The awards recognizes individuals and institutions for their efforts to reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia and bloodstream infections associated with central intravenous lines.

Health care facilities – whether hospitals, nursing homes, or outpatient facilities – can be dangerous places. One risk is “hospital-associated illnesses,” also called "hospital-acquired illnesses." 1.7 million patients contract HAIs each year. In 2002, nearly 100,000 patients died from HAIs. The fatalities broke down as follows:

36,000- pneumonia,
31,000 – bloodstream infections,
13,000 – urinary