LTC Providers Speak Out about Difficulties in Adopting CMS’s Antibiotic Stewardship Program Requirements

February 23, 2018 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 40% to 75% of antibiotic prescriptions prescribed in nursing homes are unnecessary. Those numbers may have contributed to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) October 2016 final rule requiring facilities to develop an infection prevention and control program that includes an antibiotic stewardship program and designate at least one infection preventionist. Doing so entails “significant culture change," according to long-term care (LTC) organization leaders interviewed for an article published in Modern Healthcare in February 2018. “Physicians have to amend their prescribing patterns, pharmacists must diligently monitor prescription data and nurses need to watch out for any changes in patients' conditions," the article stated. Stewardship programs have proven to be effective in reducing bacterial infection rates in hospitals—the article references one study from 2016 that found a 4.5% decrease—as well as reductions in costs associated with antibiotics (34%) and length of patient stays (reduced by 9%).

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