In a recent Rural Monitor article for the Rural Health Information Hub, Jennifer Lundblad, CEO of Stratis Health and a member of the RUPRI Health Panel, discusses the economic impact of antibiotic stewardship (AS) programs for rural hospitals. She also referenced a RUPRI Health Panel public comment letter on a proposed rule from the Centers on Medicare and Medicaid that would require participation in an AS program as condition of participation in a new “Hospital and Critical Access Hospital Changes To Promote Innovation, Flexibility, and Improvement in Patient Care” rule.
Lundblad said calculating economic impact can be complicated since AS experts note start-up and maintenance costs must be balanced with expected savings from AS — savings associated with protecting communities from the expense and experience of antibiotic-induced problems.
“We think about economic impact of costs, but there is also the economic impact of benefits,” she said. “Often those are longer term and may not be as directly attributable, yet they are equally important because those health benefits are community benefits, with an economic benefit as an end result.”