The Urgent Care Association (UCA) and the College of Urgent Care Medicine ® (CUCM) recently launched an Antibiotic Stewardship Commendation program for urgent care centers that choose to demonstrate a commitment to responsible prescribing practices of antibiotics. With antimicrobial resistance on the rise, UCA advocates for healthcare providers to prescribe the right drug in the right dose for the right duration.
According to the CDC, each year in the U.S. at least 2 million people get an antibiotic-resistant infection, and at least 23,000 people die as a result of antimicrobial resistance.
"Antibiotic resistance is a serious threat, and UCA is proud to take a leadership role in finding a solution to this growing problem," said Laurel Stoimenoff, CEO of UCA. "There is a real need for comprehensive antibiotic stewardship across the entire healthcare industry, and we encourage all urgent care providers to take ownership of their prescribing practices and understand the role they play in stewardship efforts."
Antibiotic Stewardship Commendation Program
The Antibiotic Stewardship Commendation Program requires urgent care centers to provide evidence demonstrating their compliance with the Core Elements of Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship program developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC program provides a framework for antibiotic stewardship in the outpatient setting focused on four key elements:
- Commitment: Demonstrate dedication to and accountability for optimizing antibiotic prescribing and patient safety
- Action for Policy and Practice: Implement at least one policy or practice to improve responsible prescribing and assess its efficacy with an Antibiotic Stewardship Quality Plan
- Tracking and Reporting: Monitor antibiotic prescribing and offer regular feedback to clinicians
- Education and Expertise: Provide educational resources to clinicians and patients on antibiotic prescribing and ensure access to needed expertise on optimizing prescribing practices
"The goal of this program is to encourage urgent care centers to become more proactive in their antibiotic stewardship efforts," said Jasmeet Singh Bhogal, MD, MBA, President of the CUCM. "Using evidence-based recommendations for diagnosis and management, centers can design and implement strategies to improve their prescribing practices, as well as educate patients on proper antibiotic use."
UCA has been working with six member organizations to beta test the Antibiotic Stewardship Commendation program, with Premier Health being the first in the beta test group to earn the Commendation:
- Premier Health
- Physicians Immediate Care
- CAMC Urgent Care
In earning the Antibiotic Stewardship Commendation, Premier Health has demonstrated their commitment to antibiotic stewardship and their compliance with the CDC's Core Elements.
"Premier Health is excited to have been one of the first nationwide urgent care operators to beta test this critically important initiative, and is proud to be the first organization to earn the Antibiotic Stewardship Commendation", according to Chief Medical Officer, Kevin DiBenedetto, M.D. "The way Premier sees it, urgent care clinics are the first line of defense in battling the inappropriate use of antibiotics because so many of the patients that visit our clinics with obvious viral infections believe antibiotics will make them feel better. The Antibiotic Stewardship Commendation program will give urgent care providers the clinical and educational support they need to address patients and avoid prescribing antibiotics when they are clearly not necessary."
The period of Commendation is three years, and urgent care centers are required to provide evidence demonstrating ongoing compliance with the CDC's Core Elements and an assessment of quality improvement efforts to obtain repeat Commendation.
A Global Effort
In the fight against antimicrobial resistance, UCA has teamed up with an elite group of international leaders working together to nurture sustainable, proactive stewardship efforts. Since 2016, UCA has been a partner of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC) at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, the George Washington University, collaborating on strategy, communication and education for UCA members and the healthcare community at-large.
UCA also sponsored an antimicrobial resistance symposium with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to discuss the importance of responsible prescribing practices and innovative ideas for developing and implementing stewardship programs across the healthcare industry.
In addition, UCA and the CUCM have hosted antibiotic stewardship symposiums at the annual UCA conferences, and offer several antibiotic stewardshipresources for urgent care centers including the Antibiotic Stewardship Toolkit to help develop a plan of action to improve responsible prescribing practices.
For more information on the Antibiotic Stewardship Commendation program, visit www.ucaoa.org/ABScommendation.