CMS Proposes Mandatory Antibiotic Stewardship Program

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a rule requiring all long term care facilities to establish an antibiotic stewardship program, including antibiotic use protocols and antibiotic monitoring.  This initiative is a reflection of the federal government's escalated response in the battle against superbugs, malicious microbes that are resistant to these drugs.

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) included infection controls into their quality initiatives and support such stewardship programs.  According to AHCA’s Provider, “Antibiotic stewardship programs, such as the one outlined in CMS’ rule, have proven to decrease the development of antibiotic resistance, reduce the occurrence of C. difficile infections, improve patient outcomes, and reduce pharmacy costs.”

The rule would become a condition of participation in Medicare. Specifically, the agency would require pharmacists to “review a resident’s medical chart at least every six months and when the resident is new to the facility, a prior resident returns or is transferred from a hospital or other facility, and during each monthly drug regimen review when the resident has been prescribed or is taking … an antibiotic.”

Facilities will also be required to designate an infection prevention and control officer that will periodically review and update the program, educate and train staff, and serve as a member of the facility’s Quality Assessment and Assurance Committee.

The rule is posted on the Federal Register and is available for public comment until Sept. 10, 2015.  To read more about it in Provider, click here.