Patricia Jackson, BSN, RN, CIC, FAPIC, 2023 President of APIC and Devin Jopp, EdD, MS, CEO of APIC spoke to a group of reporters, including Infection Control Today about exciting and encouraging new strategies to further the IPC profession.
Today, Patricia Jackson, BSN, RN, CIC, FAPIC, 2023 President of Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC); and Devin Jopp, EdD, MS, CEO of APIC, announced the establishment of the APIC Health Equity Fund the with the aim of providing financial support for the procurement of infection prevention and control (IPC) tools and resources in disadvantaged communities across the United States.
The fund's primary focus during its initial 3-year period is centered around a scholarship program designed specifically for critical access hospitals. This program called the Critical Access Hospital Scholarship, is a collaborative effort involving APIC, APIC Consulting Services, and the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology (CBIC). It serves as an award to enhance underprivileged critical access hospitals' infection prevention and control (IPC) capabilities. Each selected hospital will benefit from the following provisions:
Over the course of 3 years, a total of 9 critical access facilities will be granted awards, with 3 facilities receiving the scholarship each year. By December 2026, the program will have successfully assisted a total of 9 facilities. The scholarship itself holds a value of $50,346 per recipient. APIC will receive financial support from Clorox Healthcare and CS Medical for the scholarship program.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services designates certain rural hospitals as Critical Access Hospitals. These hospitals must meet specific criteria, including being situated at a distance of over 35 miles from another hospital and having no more than 25 acute care inpatient beds.
The application for Critical Access Hospitals will open in late August for this scholarship program.
During their press conference, APIC also announced the current development of a calculator to determine appropriate staffing ratios in health care facilities for infection preventionist. Adequate staffing of infection preventionists (IPs) in health care plays a crucial role in safeguarding patient safety, preventing the spread of infections, and maintaining optimal health care outcomes. This multifactorial calculator will estimate the optimal number of infection preventionists in a particular setting. Typically, staffing calculators are centered on the number of patient beds in a particular facility, but this calculator will consider other components, such as the complexity of care.
Devin Jopp said, “These staffing calculators will be essential because they will provide quantitative data that will help our members make decisions.” The first version of the staffing calculator will be available this year, and a second version will be available in 2024. After receiving feedback from organizations on how they used the calculator to impact staffing, the second version will be a perfected version of the first calculator. Staffing calculators are valuable tools for organizations to make data-driven staffing decisions, improve resource allocation, enhance operational efficiency, and maintain quality service levels.
APIC is working on promising and innovative advancements in infection prevention, indicating a bright future for this field and infection preventionists.