New Paper Says Medicare Hospital-Acquired Conditions Initiative Will Spur Increased Patient Screening and Antibiotic Use

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WALTHAM, Mass. -- Decision Resources, a leading research and advisory firm for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that the Medicare Hospital-Acquired Conditions Initiative will have a significant impact on antibiotic prescribing and infection control practices for hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). The new Physician & Payer Forum report, “Hospital Anti-Infectives: Insights on the Impact of Medicare Reforms, Formulary Inclusion, and Uptake of Novel Antibiotics and Antifungals,” finds that approximately one-third of surveyed physicians expect to increase their use of antibiotic prophylaxis to help prevent the development of HAIs.

According to the report, surveyed physicians are highly concerned about Medicare's decision to reduce reimbursement of the costs of treating certain HAIs. Following the implementation of the new initiative in the United States on Oct. 1, 2008, Medicare will no longer cover the additional costs of treating 10 conditions acquired during a hospital stay, including vascular catheter-associated infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections and surgical site infections following certain elective procedures. The report finds that 62 percent of infectious disease specialists and 73 percent of critical care specialists are most concerned about Medicare's decision to no longer reimburse the cost of treating vascular catheter-associated infections.

"Physicians we surveyed are concerned about the lack of Medicare reimbursement for vascular catheter-associated infections," said Danielle Drayton, PhD, director at Decision Resources. "Many physicians indicate these changes will prompt them to increase their prescribing of carbapenems and anti-MRSA therapies, most notably Cubist's Cubicin and Pfizer's Zyvox."

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