APIC forms consulting arm to meet new regs

Hospitals now, ambulatory care on horizon

Kathy Warye
Kathy Warye

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) has announced the launch of APIC Consulting Services Inc. (ACSI), a full-service consulting company specializing in infection prevention and control. A wholly owned, for-profit subsidiary of APIC, ACSI will work with acute, ambulatory, and long-term care facilities; hospital systems; insurance companies; and government organizations to advance infection prevention.

ACSI's three primary lines of business include development of programs to reduce multidrug-resistant organisms, outbreak recovery, and preparation for state and federal regulatory compliance and accreditation. ACSI consultants have experience in all aspects of infection prevention and control, from emerging pathogens to surveillance technology assessment to construction issues, APIC announced.

While the growth market for such a business would appear to be ambulatory care, the initiative actually began as a response to inquiries from hospitals facing increasing regulatory and accreditation requirements. "Now that they are facing nonreimbursement for many infections, they want to make sure that their infection prevention program is as robust as it can be to ensure that they are not losing more money then necessary on preventable conditions," says Kathy Warye, APIC CEO.

The consulting business model raised liability questions so APIC launched its first for-profit venture using a national network of infection preventionists. That said, there is no intent to replace hospital-based IPs, but rather complement their efforts, Warye emphasized.

"We could help them meet requirements for CMS, Joint Commission or state requirements for public reporting," she tells Hospital Infection Control & Prevention. "There are so many variations on that theme now — with additional state requirements — that is one of the things that is really overwhelming infection preventionists. We could be of assistance to them in areas like that, set up the program, and then enable the IP to manage it once we departed."

A logical extension of the consulting service would be into ambulatory care, an area that is facing increasing scrutiny and regulatory activity in the wake of the hepatitis C outbreak in Las Vegas.

"I certainly think that ambulatory care is an area tremendously in need of greater infection prevention and control expertise," Warye says. "The situation in ambulatory care was one of the factors that we considered when we established this business. I think, over time, there are going to be additional requirements. Whether they come from CMS or Joint Commission — that handwriting is on the wall."

(Editor's note: For more information, see www.apicconsulting.com.)