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July/August 2016
IDSA Advocacy on ID-Led Stewardship—More Progress on our Strategic Priorities

Positioning ID specialists as the leaders of antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) across the health care system is one of IDSA’s top strategic priorities (see my earlier President’s message on this theme).

We have many irons in this fire, and the latest (perhaps the hottest one) is this: IDSA and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) are urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to establish ASPs as a condition of participation in Medicare and Medicaid, and in so doing, making our case for why these programs should be led by infectious diseases physicians. Our two societies recently made this case in our joint comment letter (PDF) in response to CMS’s recent proposed rule.  Given the significant changes to infection prevention and control programs and the proposal to establish ASPs in all acute care and critical access hospitals, our Societies highlighted the patient safety aspects of these activities and the multi-disciplinary teams involved.  We now await CMS’ finalization of the conditions of participation, and we hope our recommendations will prevail. 

The Joint Commission has already specifically cited the involvement of ID physicians in ASPs in their new Antimicrobial Stewardship Standards for hospitals and nursing homes, which is important as The Joint Commission accredits almost 80 percent of all hospitals.  This is a crucial and satisfying recognition given our long-term advocacy on antimicrobial stewardship and the looming threat of resistance. 

As we wait for the final rule from CMS, we continue our work to support your efforts to lead antimicrobial stewardship activities at the local level. IDSA is developing numerous resources, including an ASP Policy and Procedure template with suggested language describing procedures, personnel composition, interventions, and surveillance. You can find these resources in The Value of ID Toolkit (member login required). IDSA’s Joint Antimicrobial Stewardship Task Force, comprised of members from IDSA, SHEA, and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS), fielded a survey last month to members who lead ASPs at their respective facilities. The findings from this survey will help to benchmark current stewardship resources across various types of facilities.  We are also working on an instructional video that demonstrates how a tele-stewardship program can be implemented to extend ID physician leadership of ASPs to remote facilities.

Promoting ID leadership in ASPs is just one of IDSA’s strategic priorities. I encourage you to read more about the IDSA strategic priorities  and to take an active role in the Society—your Society. You have an immediate opportunity to do so by casting your vote in the upcoming election for the Board of Directors.

Another unique opportunity to share your thoughts and opinions on the activities of the Society will be at the first-ever IDWeek Town Hall: Securing the Future of ID. I will be joined by other leaders from IDSA and HIVMA in talking about important activities aimed at promoting the value of the ID specialty and attracting the best and brightest to our field. The most important aspect of the Town Hall, in my opinion, is its interactive nature. YOU will have an opportunity to be heard. We need to hear about the challenges you face as an ID physician and your thoughts on what the Society can be doing to help you address those challenges. The Town Hall is just the kick-off to what we expect to be an ongoing dialogue with our members, so please join us at IDWeek 2016 and look for continuing online discussions about the issues raised.

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