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Date Published:7/20/2015 1:44:00 PM
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 20, 2015 

Contact: Kristy Weinshel / (703) 684-1008 /kweinshel@shea-online.org

SHEA Applauds Proposed Rule Requiring Implementation of Infection Control and Antibiotic Stewardship Programs in Long-Term Care Institutions

ARLINGTON, VA (July 20, 2015) – The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) thoroughly supports a new proposed rule released last week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) which includes new requirements for all long-term care facilities to improve programs for infection prevention and control and establish antibiotic stewardship programs  as a Condition of Participation in Medicare.

For years, SHEA has advocated the importance of implementing formalized infection control and prevention programs and supported the creation of antibiotic stewardship programs to address appropriate usage and tracking of antibiotic use in all healthcare settings.  Key components of effective antibiotic stewardship programs aim to include antibiotic use protocols and a system for monitoring antibiotic use led by multidisciplinary teams (including physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and infection preventionists). 

Successful infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship programs with clear leadership and organizational wide support have been shown to reduce healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes, including reducing the occurrence of C. difficile infections.  The efforts of these programs will improve the lives of long-term care residents and help avoid unnecessary hospitalizations.   

SHEA remains committed to ensuring that new policies set forth in the proposed rule can be implemented successfully by working with partners to provide education, training and expert guidance in support of the long-term care industry.  SHEA is reviewing the proposed rule and plans to respond with detailed comments to CMS on the pending requirements.

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SHEA is a professional society representing physicians and other healthcare professionals around the world with expertise and passion in healthcare epidemiology, infection prevention, and antimicrobial stewardship. SHEA's mission is to prevent and control healthcare-associated infections, improve the use of antibiotics in healthcare settings, and advance the field of healthcare epidemiology. The society leads this specialty by promoting science and research, advocating for effective policies, providing high-quality education and training, and developing appropriate guidelines and guidance in practice. SHEA upholds the value and critical contributions of healthcare epidemiology and improved antibiotic use to improve patient care and healthcare worker safety in all healthcare settings. Visit SHEA online at www.shea-online.org, www.facebook.com/SHEApreventingHAIs and @SHEA_Epi.