WASHINGTON, D.C. — Kathy Warye, CEO of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), issued the following statement today: “Beginning Oct. 1, 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will no longer reimburse hospitals for costs related to three infections acquired during a hospital stay: catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs), catheter-associated bloodstream infections, and mediastinitis (a deep infection following coronary artery bypass surgery). On July 31, CMS announced that surgical site infections following certain orthopedic procedures and bariatric surgery for obesity will also be added to the list of conditions for non-payment. We are pleased that CMS took the comments of infection preventionists into consideration when drafting the new regulations. APIC’s 12,000 infection preventionists work daily to educate healthcare workers and lead performance improvement initiatives that save both lives and scarce healthcare dollars. We appreciate that the agency based their decision to add new conditions on whether they could be considered reasonably preventable through application of evidence-based guidelines.”
Warye continues, “APIC supports tying payment to conditions that have a high prevention rate and associated actionable evidence-based prevention guidelines. We stand ready to assist CMS with a value-based purchasing approach that recognizes not only the preventability of the condition, but also the institution’s track record in improving outcomes. We favor a balanced approach for payment that recognizes institutions that are making progress in reducing infections, rather than an all-or-nothing system based solely on non-payment for infections deemed preventable and welcome continued discussions on this topic. APIC applauds CMS for bringing much needed attention to the critical issue of HAIs. The new regulations, which will limit payment for preventable hospital-acquired conditions, have catapulted the issue of infection prevention into the limelight. We hope that this increased attention will drive compliance with evidence-based interventions to reduce these infections. While not all infections are preventable, working toward zero should be the goal. APIC’s Targeting Zero initiative encourages all healthcare institutions to set the goal of elimination of HAIs. We look forward to continuing our partnerships with healthcare professionals, policy makers, insurers and patient advocacy groups to provide support and education in this important endeavor.”
APIC will host a conference, Mastering the New CMS Regulation: Implications for Infection Prevention & Control, Sept. 22-23, 2008 in Arlington, VA. Speakers include Thomas Valuck, MD, JD, director of the Special Program Office for Value-Based Purchasing at CMS. More information is available at http://www.apic.org/.