FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 1, 2018
CONTACT: Tamara Moore, 202-868-4008 tmoore@thereisgroup.com

 

Infectious Diseases Experts Applaud Legislation to Address Antibiotic Resistance
Bill sponsored by Sen. Brown would help protect patients from serious public health threat

March 1, 2018 (Arlington, VA) — The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) overwhelmingly supports the Strategies to Address Antimicrobial Resistance Act (STAAR Act) introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). The legislation would serve to strengthen U.S. efforts to prevent and contain infectious diseases caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria. These pathogens infect approximately 2 million patients in the U.S. each year and cost the healthcare system an estimated $20 billion annually.

"Currently, health care systems in the United States face significant challenges in addressing antibiotic resistant bacteria, which threaten the lives and well-being of millions of people each year," said Keith Kaye, MD, MPH, president of SHEA. "The legislation introduced today by Sen. Brown addresses this complex public health issue head-on by providing much needed resources support for developing innovative approaches towards infection surveillance, antimicrobial stewardship and research that can have a meaningful impact on prevention of antimicrobial resistance and patient safety."

The STAAR Act would take a multi-faceted approach to addressing this urgent public health crisis by strengthening existing federal investments in surveillance, data collection and research efforts to help prevent bacteria from developing resistance to life-saving current and future antibiotics.

In particular, the legislation would expand the Prevention Epicenters, which are academic public health partnerships that help develop and scale the use of effectiveness strategies to prevent healthcare-associated infections and stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Bolstering these regional collaborations would provide richer opportunities to evaluate new and existing tools, strategies and evidence-based interventions; as well as facilitate necessary public health research and assess surveillance strategies for various health care settings.

The bill would also further strategies to study the development and implementation of antibiotic stewardship initiatives. Antimicrobial stewardship helps prescribers know when antibiotics are needed and what the best treatment choices are for a particular patient to help improve the use of these drugs. These initiatives are credited with greatly reducing the use of antibiotics, improving patient outcomes and decreasing costs, however we do not yet fully understand how they work. The resources proposed in the STAAR Act would help these programs remain effective and expand their use in all healthcare settings.

"There has never been a greater or more urgent need for the attention and resources proposed in the STAAR Act," said Kaye. "We urge Members of Congress to join Sen. Brown in addressing the critical issue of antimicrobial resistance and in doing so, helping to protect patients from life-threatening infections."

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The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) is a professional society representing more than 2,000 physicians and other healthcare professionals around the world who possess expertise and passion for healthcare epidemiology, infection prevention, and antimicrobial stewardship. The society's work improves public health by establishing infection-prevention measures and supporting antibiotic stewardship among healthcare providers, hospitals, and health systems. This is accomplished by leading research studies, translating research into clinical practice, developing evidence-based policies, optimizing antibiotic stewardship, and advancing the field of healthcare epidemiology. SHEA and its members strive to improve patient outcomes and create a safer, healthier future for all. Visit SHEA online at www.shea-online.org, www.facebook.com/SHEApreventingHAIs and @SHEA_Epi.