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CPS's PhAST Certificate Program Helps Hospitals Reduce Antibiotic Use

Although antibiotics remain one of the most important medical advancements in the last 100 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn that 20%–50% of all antibiotics prescribed in U.S. acute care hospitals are either unnecessary or inappropriate. The misuse of antibiotics has contributed to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance, which has become one of the most serious threats to public health, leading to higher rates of death and longer stays in the hospital.1 More than two million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant organisms each year, resulting in approximately 23,000 deaths annually.2 According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antimicrobial resistance threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi.3

The Joint Commission’s Medication Management (MM) standard for hospitals, critical access hospitals, and nursing care centers, which became effective January 1, 2017, emphasizes the need to reduce the use of inappropriate antimicrobials in all health care settings and requires hospitals to have an antimicrobial stewardship program that is based on current scientific literature.4 The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) require hospitals to reduce antibiotic use in order to participate in Medicare or Medicaid and state that hospitals must appoint designated, qualified leaders for those antimicrobial stewardship programs.5,6 

CPS PhAST Certificate Program

CPS’s Antimicrobial Stewardship Bundle is designed to address all of the antibiotic stewardship requirements and regulations from the CDC and CMS, which includes training qualified leaders to lead such programs. The PhAST Certificate Program is designed for health-system pharmacists and includes more than 20 hours of comprehensive and intensive education sessions and practicums. It covers the pharmacology and spectrum of activity of various antibiotics and differentiates certain antibiotic classes and their application to disease state management, including practical advice for the pharmacist.

Upon completion of the program, the pharmacist will be able to:

  1. Define antimicrobial stewardship and its importance
  2. Describe the pharmacology of various antibiotic classes
  3. Compare the spectrum of activity of antibiotics, including drug resistance
  4. Differentiate certain antibiotic classes for further evaluation

Participants in the program are required to view the full presentation and successfully complete the learning assessment in CPS’s Rx Learning Center with a minimum score of 80%. Upon completion of the program and course evaluation, participants receive a certificate, which will be reported directly to the CPE Monitor for continuing education credit. CPS is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.


Overuse of antibiotics is driving the growth in dangerous superinfections, which are largely preventable with a robust antibiotic stewardship program. By using fewer antibiotics and using them responsibly, hospitals are bringing down their institutions’ antibiotic spend and improving patient outcomes. The PhAST certificate program is an essential component of making an antibiotic stewardship program effective by training pharmacists to lead their facility’s antimicrobial stewardship program. For more information, contact CPS:

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Core Elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Programs. Accessed August 15, 2016.

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013. Atlanta, GA: CDC; 2013. Accessed April 4, 2017.

3 World Health Organization. Antimicrobial Resistance. (Updated: Apr 2015.) Accessed April 4, 2017.

4 Approved: New Antimicrobial Stewardship Standard. Accessed April 24, 2017.

5 CMS Issues Proposed Rule that Prohibits Discrimination, Reduces Hospital-Acquired Conditions, and Promotes Antibiotic Stewardship in U.S. Hospitals. Accessed April 24, 2017.

6 Becker’s Hospital Review. Infection Control & Clinical Quality: CMS’ proposed rule for hospitals: Reduce antibiotic use or exit Medicare. Accessed April 24, 2017.

Posted: Thursday, February 11, 2021

Tags: PhAST, antibiotic stewardship, Blog