New antibiotic stewardship program for urgent care centers

July 26, 2019

The Urgent Care Association (UCA) and the College of Urgent Care Medicine (CUCM) announced the launch of an Antibiotic Stewardship Commendation program for urgent care centers that choose to demonstrate a commitment to responsible prescribing practices of antibiotics. 

“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, in the statement. “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.”

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:

• 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

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, AltaMed, ConvenientMD, CAMC Urgent Care, WellStreet.

In earning the Antibiotic Stewardship Commendation, Premier Health has demonstrated their commitment to antibiotic stewardship and their compliance with the CDC’s Core Elements.

"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,”  said Chief Medical Officer, Kevin DiBenedetto, MD  “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.

In addition, UCA and the CUCM offer several antibiotic stewardship resources for urgent care centers including the Antibiotic Stewardship Toolkit to help develop a plan of action to improve responsible prescribing practices.