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Date Published:9/30/2014 2:38:00 PM
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Tamara Moore, 202-745-5114
tmoore@gymr.com

SHEA Applauds California for Mandating Antimicrobial Stewardship in State's Hospitals

ARLINGTON, Va. (September 30, 2014) – Recognizing the need to address inappropriate antibiotic use as a major driver of antibiotic resistance, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) applauds the state of California for stepping up and mandating hospitals in the state implement an Antimicrobial Stewardship policy and develop a physician-supervised, multidisciplinary Antimicrobial Stewardship committee by July 2015.  SHEA in particular would like to recognize California State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) for championing this cause and authoring the legislation (S.B. 1311).

This law is in line with recommendations and educational efforts by SHEA to help preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics. SHEA has consistently indicated that cutting unnecessary use of antibiotics is one of the best defenses against the spread of drug-resistant organisms, in addition to helping ensure these drugs remain an effective resource.

"We are excited to see California taking a leadership role in instituting uniform state wide guidelines on Antimicrobial Stewardship," said Daniel Diekema, MD, SHEA Board of Trustees President. "As clinicians we need a systematic approach in hospitals across the U.S. to ensure antibiotics are used wisely. California is at the forefront of this effort to improve patient safety, protect the efficacy of valuable antibiotics, and reduce healthcare costs. The law's emphasis on a multidisciplinary team is also critical as physicians, pharmacists, nurses and quality control professionals all play an important role in preserving antibiotics."

Earlier this month, the Obama Administration released a National Strategy to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and as part of this initiative; the need for strong stewardship programs was recognized.  Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a Vital Signs report back in March highlighting the issue of antibiotic overuse as a threat to patient safety, recommending all hospitals implement Antimicrobial Stewardship programs. SHEA is thrilled that California already is taking steps to recognize this national issue and do its part to improve patient outcomes in the state.

"Strong antimicrobial stewardship programs are a critical step toward stemming the tide of antibiotic resistance and ensuring patients are receiving the right antibiotic, at the right dose and for the right duration," said Sara Cosgrove, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University and Chair of SHEA's Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee. "If implemented effectively, these programs can help clinicians make the best choices about the antibiotics they prescribe for their hospitalized patients, helping to improve patient care."

SHEA is a recognized leader in promoting judicious antibiotic use in patients and populations through research and education in the area of antimicrobial stewardship.  SHEA is hosting an educational conference, co-organized by the Infectious Disease Association of California (IDAC), on Antimicrobial Stewardship in early 2015. The training will be held in Los Angeles for select healthcare professionals in California hospitals to further compliance with this law.

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SHEA is a global professional society representing more than 2,000 physicians and other healthcare professionals with expertise and passion for healthcare epidemiology and infection prevention to improve patient care in all healthcare settings. SHEA's mission is to prevent and control healthcare-associated infections and advance the field of healthcare epidemiology. The society advances its mission through advocacy, science and research, expert guidelines and guidance on key issues, the exchange of knowledge, and high-quality education.  SHEA focuses resources on promoting antimicrobial stewardship, ensuring a safe healthcare environment, encouraging transparency in public reporting related to HAIs, focused efforts on prevention and more. Visit SHEA online at www.shea-online.org, www.facebook.com/SHEApreventingHAIs and @SHEA_Epi.