The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is getting serious about reducing the amount of antibiotics that are prescribed in long-term care (LTC) facilities. It has proposed a rule that would require LTC facilities to establish an antibiotic stewardship program in order to participate in Medicare.
The proposal states that the program should include antibiotic use protocols and a system for monitoring use. Antibiotic resistance is becoming more of a national healthcare concern where even the appropriate use can contribute to resistance. The proposal calls nursing homes the "next frontier" where new antibiotic resistant organisms will flourish.
Drug-resistant bacterial infections—including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae and vancomycin-resistant enterococci—cause more than 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the United States each year.
"Nursing homes need to have the tools to participate in surveillance, learn and use infection control and containment practices, and adopt a proactive approach to preventing spread while being good stewards of antibiotics to preserve effectiveness of the agents we have today," the proposal states.