Author: SHEA
Date Published:3/27/2015 2:32:00 PM
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CONTACT: Kristy Weinshel, 703-684-1008

SHEA Applauds Strategies Outlined in National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Plan Includes Goal of Establishing of Antibiotic Stewardship Programs in All Acute Care Hospitals and Improving Antibiotic Stewardship across All Healthcare Settings

March 27, 2015 (Arlington, VA) — The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) applauds the National Action Plan for Combating Resistant Bacteria, released today. The plan will tackle the growing problem of antibiotic resistance on a national and international scale by advancing a variety of antimicrobial stewardship activities. 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.

The significant stewardship milestones noted in the first year of the plan are the building blocks for reducing antimicrobial resistance and in turn will help advance the goals set throughout the plan. These efforts will help slow the emergence of resistant bacteria and prevent the spread of resistant infections by:

  • Establishing antibiotic stewardship programs in all acute care hospitals;
  • Improving antibiotic stewardship across all healthcare settings;
  • Encouraging facilities to report antibiotic use and resistance data to CDC via the National Health Care Safety Network;
  • Reducing inappropriate antibiotic use by 50 percent in outpatient settings and by 20 percent in inpatient settings;
  • Reviewing existing regulations and proposing new regulations needed; and
  • Tracking the number of healthcare facilities with stewardship policies and programs in place. 

“Antimicrobial resistance is the most urgent threat facing modern medicine. While this is a multifaceted problem, creating and maintaining strong, effective antimicrobial stewardship programs across the healthcare continuum is essential,” said Sara Cosgrove, MD, MS, Vice President of the SHEA Board of Trustees.  “This strategy will align the healthcare community on the best path to prolong the efficacy of antibiotics and meet the threat of new, resistant microbes.”

The strategies in the action plan address many points SHEA initially outlined in a 2012 joint policy statement.  In it, SHEA advocated for antimicrobial stewardship programs to be required through regulatory mechanisms and for additional research on antimicrobial stewardship including rapid, point-of care diagnostic tests so that antimicrobials may be avoided when a viral etiology is identified. These long-stated strategies are core to the goals of the national action plan.

SHEA is particularly pleased to see that within three years, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will issue new Conditions of Participation (COPs) or revise current COP Interpretive Guidelines to advance compliance with recommendations in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Core Elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Programs.   This is essential to ensuring broad based support for stewardship programs. 

SHEA looks forward to continuing the dialogue and collaborating with government, industry and other stakeholders to address this critical issue.


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. SHEA improves patient care and healthcare worker safety in all healthcare settings through the critical contributions of healthcare epidemiology and improved antibiotic use.  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. Visit SHEA online at, and @SHEA_Epi.