Carolinas HealthCare System
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Carolinas HealthCare System Announces Commitment to Antibiotic Stewardship at White House Forum

CHARLOTTE, NC, June 2, 2015 - Carolinas HealthCare System today joined an invited group of organizations, companies and associations at the White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship and committed to making additional changes over the next five years to slow the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The Forum challenged top leaders from healthcare, diagnostics and food industries, among others, to leverage their expertise and resources to more aggressively combat these bacteria at the national level.

“Carolinas HealthCare System is excited to contribute to this larger conversation on preventing and combating the overuse of antibiotics, both in healthcare and other settings,” said James C. Hunter, MD, chief medical officer for the System, who attended the Forum. “We are proud of the work we are already doing in this area and applaud the White House for placing additional emphasis on this important topic.”

Since 2009, Carolinas HealthCare System has actively worked to reduce the overuse of antibiotics, one of the primary causes of antibiotic resistance. Efforts are led by the System’s Antimicrobial Support Network (ASN), which last year was supported by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid ServicesLeading Edge Advance Practice Topics contract. The ASN is a six-hospital stewardship program that helps healthcare providers make better decisions for the selection, dosage and duration of antimicrobial treatments for patients.

To decrease antibiotic use across the organization, Carolinas HealthCare System committed to expanding its ASN to include 13 inpatient and rehabilitation facilities by end of year. It also committed to spreading stewardship support, over the next several years, across the System’s 900 care locations through a state-of-the-art ASN – this network would build upon and include already existing ASNs at Cone Health in North Carolina, and AnMed Health and Roper St. Francis Healthcare in South Carolina.
More specifically, its efforts will include:

  • Implementing stewardship programs in all System inpatient locations within three years, including a requirement for antibiotic use reporting;
  • Developing and implementing stewardship programs for skilled nursing facilities and ambulatory (outpatient) care practices over five years, including development of antibiotic use reporting;
  • Incorporating antibiotic indicators and appropriate duration of therapy within the System’s electronic medical records; and
  • Developing disease specific care pathways that provide best practices for antibiotic prescribing.

Stewardship programs improve patient outcomes and reduce rates of hospital-acquired and other infections. They also decrease patient length of stay and rates of antimicrobial use. Hospitals currently in the Carolinas HealthCare System ASN continue seeing patient outcome and cost improvements from more diligent use of antibiotics. To date they have decreased their use of antibiotics by 20 to 30 percent, keeping patients on antibiotics fewer days and reducing cost of antimicrobials by more than 12 percent.

Over the past year, White House Administration has taken important steps to address the threat of antibiotic resistance. In September 2014, President Obama issued an executive order on this topic and, in March 2015, the Administration released the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, which outlines “a whole-of-government approach over the next five years targeted at addressing this threat.”

The press portion of the June 2 Forum will be available via live stream from 8-9:15 a.m. on the White House website.