CMS has proposed new standards to improve infection prevention and reduce antibiotic overuse in U.S. hospitals.
According to the agency, the proposed rule applies to 6,228 hospitals and critical access hospitals that participate in Medicaid or Medicare. It requires hospitalwide infection prevention and control and antibiotic stewardship programs, among other measures.
CMS projects that the proposed requirements, which build on initiatives from the CDC, HHS, Partnership for Patients and the National Quality Strategy, could save hospitals $284 million each year, improve care and save lives.
“Working with tools provided by the Affordable Care Act, hospitals have taken significant steps to improve safety and quality in the past several years,” Kate Goodrich, MD, MHS, director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality at CMS, said in a press release. “Already, efforts to reduce health care-associated infections have resulted in reducing health care costs by nearly $20 billion and saving 87,000 lives. This proposal further supports hospitals’ safety and quality efforts by requiring all Medicare and Medicaid hospitals to have designated leaders in charge of specialized programs to prevent infections, improve antibiotic use, and follow nationally recognized guidelines.”
The proposal also would require critical access hospitals to implement Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement programs.
In addition, the rule would prohibit discrimination by advancing “protections for traditionally underserved and often excluded populations based on race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity), age, disability or sexual orientation.”
“This rule marks the first time that CMS has proposed explicitly to prohibit hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid from discriminating against patients,” Cara James, PhD, director of the CMS Office of Minority Health, said in the release. “We know that barriers still remain in accessing quality care for communities that have been traditionally excluded or underserved. This proposal reinforces the principle that access to needed health services should not be blocked because of discriminatory practices.”
The rule is open for comments until Aug. 15; comments can be submitted electronically through the e-Regulation website at https://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Regulations-and-Policies/eRulemaking/index.html?redirect=/eRulemaking. – by Chelsea Frajerman Pardes