The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ new rule requiring hospitals participating in its programs to establish antibiotic stewardship programs will enable critical advances toward control of a major public health threat. The rule, which makes expert and coordinated interventions to improve the use of antimicrobial drugs mandatory in virtually all U.S. hospitals, will help curb inappropriate use of some of our most valuable medicines, reducing risks to patients and averting increased healthcare costs.
The rule represents meaningful action against a growing crisis and is responsive to concerns raised by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, which, working with other organizations, has highlighted urgent needs for broad implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programs across all health care settings. IDSA has led advances in antibiotic stewardship with the development of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Centers of Excellence Program, which recognizes institutions that have created stewardship programs led by infectious diseases physicians and ID-trained pharmacists that are of the highest quality, as well as with resources to help practices and institutions implement stewardship programs such as the new Core Antimicrobial Stewardship Curriculum available through IDSA Academy. IDSA stands ready to guide practices and support institutions with the resources they need to perform effective stewardship.
While an essential step to controlling antimicrobial resistance, the rule will not on its own contain the threat. Stewardship can help limit the development of resistance, but even the necessary and appropriate use of antibiotics leads to resistance. With the evolving nature of infectious diseases, the need for a robust and renewable antibiotic pipeline capable of meeting current and future patient needs will continue. IDSA, in turn, will continue to call for additional support and investments on a federal level in research and development toward new antibiotics that reflect the value of infection-fighting medicines to individual and public health, and to the practice of modern medicine.