For Immediate Release
June 2, 2015
AHCA/NCAL Taking Steps to Ensure the Responsible Use of Antibiotics
Association pledges support of President’s antibiotic stewardship initiative at White House event
Washington, DC — The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) today reinforced its commitment to the responsible use of antibiotics in assisted living, long term and post-acute care settings.
AHCA/NCAL joined key federal agencies and private sector organizations at the White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship in pledging support for the development, promotion, and implementation of antibiotic stewardship activities.
AHCA/NCAL was represented at the White House event by Leonard Russ, AHCA Board Chair, and Principal Partner of Bayberry Health Care and Co-Owner of Aaron Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation in New York.
“I commend the White House for its forward-looking efforts to address the use of antibiotics in health care centers today,” said Russ. “As a provider, I have seen firsthand the serious consequences to an individual’s health when these life-saving medicines are used in an irresponsible manner. That’s why I’m pleased our profession has included this area as part of our nationwide Quality Initiative — where we can take a methodical yet comprehensive view of where and when these medicines are appropriate. That’s going to save lives moving forward.”
“Infections as a result of overuse of antibiotics are a major cause of illnesses and hospitalizations among residents of skilled nursing care centers (SNCCs) and assisted living communities,” said Dr. David Gifford, AHCA Senior Vice President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs and a board-certified geriatrician. “Improving antibiotic stewardship will not only help reduce health care acquired infections among individuals cared for in these centers and communities but also help prevent the development of antibiotic resistant organisms that are slowly spreading throughout the nation.”
Gifford said that AHCA/NCAL is taking a number of specific actions to enhance antibiotic stewardship among its membership. The Association has added the goal of reducing hospitalizations resulting from health care acquired infections in SNCCs and assisted living communities to its ongoing Quality Initiative.
In addition, the Association will promote the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network reporting program for urinary tract infections (UTI) to AHCA/NCAL membership. This program requires the use of established criteria to diagnose UTI and prevent the overprescribing of antibiotics, which can cause a number of complications and also eventually make them less effective.
AHCA/NCAL also will conduct training sessions at national and state meetings on antibiotic stewardship and the role SNCC staff play in working with physicians.
Gifford noted that AHCA/NCAL is partnering with other associations to promote better antibiotic stewardship. Currently AHCA/NCAL is working with the American Hospital Association on an effort to treat and prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infection. AHCA/NCAL also is supporting Advancing Excellence in Nursing Homes that has as one of its goals to reduce C. diff infections through better antibiotic stewardship.
“We look forward to working with the Department of Health and Human Services and affiliated Centers to address this important issue facing the frail elderly that our members care for each and every day,” said Gifford.
About the President’s Antibiotic Stewardship Initiative
Last year, President Obama signed an Executive Order launching federal efforts to combat the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The Administration also issued its National Strategy on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, which outlines steps the U.S. government will take to improve prevention, detection, and control of resistant pathogens. Earlier this year, the White House released its National Action Plan to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, a comprehensive effort that identifies critical actions to be taken by government over the next five years. In addition, the President’s FY 2016 Budget proposed nearly doubling the amount of federal funding for combating and preventing antibiotic resistance to more than $1.2 billion.
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 12,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahca.org or www.ncal.org.
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