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By Gary Evans, Senior Staff Writer
As a first step toward an anticipated regulation requiring antibiotic stewardship programs in health care settings, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a proposed rule to begin collecting hospital prescribing data as a quality measure.
Hospitals would send their information to CMS through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Antimicrobial Use module. The CMS would then include the data on its Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program. Healthcare facilities can then compare “their antibiotic prescribing to national benchmarks and evaluate and improve antimicrobial prescribing as needed,” the CMS stated.
The rule is open for comment until 5 p.m. Eastern June 17, 2016.
The CMS is expected to issue a proposed rule requiring antibiotic stewardship programs in hospitals in 2017. Judicious and appropriate use of antibiotics have become critical as multidrug resistant bacteria – some essentially untreatable – have arisen after decades of flagrant and often unnecessary administration of antibiotics.