Hospitals are still not doing enough when it comes to controlling the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and are not keeping patients safe, a report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found.
The report, released Wednesday, was a joint effort between CMS, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Hospital Association (AHA).
It called for the introduction of a new policy that would mandate hospital-level surveillance and testing for drug-resistance infections.
The recommendations come at a time when hospitals are increasingly finding themselves on the front lines of a healthcare system already grappling with drug-acquired infections that have overwhelmed emergency departments and other healthcare facilities.
Hospitals report that they have the highest infection rates of any public hospital, with an estimated 24 million new infections annually.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last month that over the past five years, more than half of the nation’s hospitals reported having a drug-related infection.
According to the report, hospitals need to be proactive about identifying drug-associated infections before they get into patients’ bodies, and take steps to prevent and respond to infections that could lead to serious illness.
The new policy would require hospitals to establish a surveillance and monitoring system to identify drug-infected patients and would mandate that hospitals track all new drug-induced infections, whether those are in patients or staff, and provide information to patients about when they should be tested and monitored.
A hospital would also be required to inform the patient about their next steps in determining when to seek treatment for their infection, and the time to do so.
The hospitals report also recommends that hospitals adopt a “risk-based” management plan for all drug-treated patients, including those that have been in the hospital longer than 30 days, and that they implement “risk management programs” to limit the spread and spread of the infection.
The proposed rule would not apply to the Medicare drug benefit program, but rather to those who receive Medicare.
The rules could also apply to private insurance plans, which could also face the requirement to implement the policy.
The proposal does not address the use of other health care facilities, such as inpatient rehabilitation or hospice care.
According, the guidelines are aimed at helping hospitals protect patients and prevent the spread.
“The recommendations in this report recognize that hospitals are at the forefront of responding to drug- resistant infections and are actively working to improve our patient care through the development of new strategies, such for example, the use or sharing of laboratory testing and the establishment of a drug containment strategy,” said Dr. James C. Rabinowitz, chair of the Medicare Advisory Committee.
The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services is an independent federal agency.