OBJECTIVE. To determine the extent to which evidence-based practices for the prevention of central venous catheter (CVC)-associated bloodstream infections are incorporated into the policies and practices of academic intensive care units (ICUs) in the United States and to determine variations in the policies on CVC insertion, use, and care. DESIGN. A 9-page written survey of practices and policies for nontunneled CVC insertion and care. SETTING. ICUs in 10 academic tertiary-care hospitals. PARTICIPANTS. ICU medical directors and nurse managers. RESULTS. Twenty-five ICUs were surveyed (1-6 ICUs per hospital). In 80% of the units, 5 separate groups of clinicians inserted 24%-50% of all nontunneled CVCs. In 56% of the units, placement of more than two-thirds of nontunneled CVCs was performed in a single location in the hospital. Twenty units (80%) had written policies for CVC insertion. Twenty-eight percent of units had a policy requiring maximal sterile-barrier precautions when CVCs were placed, and 52% of the units had formal educational programs with regard to CVC insertion. Eighty percent of the units had a policy requiring staff to perform hand hygiene before inserting CVCs, but only 36% and 60% of the units required hand hygiene before accessing a CVC and treating the exit site, respectively. CONCLUSION. ICU policy regarding the insertion and care of CVCs varies considerably from hospital to hospital. ICUs may be able to improve patient outcome if evidence-based guidelines for CVC insertion and care are implemented.