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Capital BlueCross, PA Dept. of Health partner to educate community about risks of antibiotic overutilization

            Nov. 17-23 is national Get Smart About Antibiotics Week

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Nov. 17, 2014) – In the United States, over 2 million people become ill with bacteria that are resistant to drugs each year, and at least 23,000 of those illnesses result in death, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Although they are crucial in modern medicine, overuse of antibiotics is a major reason for the surge in resistance.

Capital BlueCross is partnering with the Pennsylvania Department of Health Get Smart Program to raise awareness about the need for proper use of antibiotics among consumers and health care providers. It is estimated that up to one-half of all antibiotics used in inpatient and outpatient settings are either unnecessary or incorrectly prescribed.

The initial focus of the collaboration will be on the Get Smart interventions that pre-empt the need for antibiotic use, while keeping consumers healthy.  Increasing vaccinations for seasonal flu, better hand-hygiene practice, and promoting stewardship among clinicians are part of this collaboration.

 “Capital BlueCross is pleased to partner with the Department of Health to address this serious health risk,” said Dr. Jennifer Chambers, Capital BlueCross senior vice president and chief medical officer. “Antibiotic resistance continues to grow as a global concern, and we are committed to doing our part to help curb this trend through public education and collaborations with the health care community.”

“We are keen on strengthening and expanding initiatives to promote antibiotics stewardship in collaboration with a major player in health care delivery,” observed

Dr. Nkuchia M’ikanatha, DOH lead epidemiologist.  

Capital BlueCross is the only health plan in Pennsylvania partnering with the Department of Health Get Smart Program, which is one of the 16 state-based efforts funded by the CDC.

Coinciding with national Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, Nov. 17-23, Capital BlueCross and the Department of Health have kicked off planning sessions to roll out awareness programs to area health care providers starting early in 2015.

For more information about antibiotic use and resistance, visit the CDC at

About Capital BlueCross

For more than 75 years, Capital BlueCross has served residents and businesses in central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley as the region’s leading health insurer. Delivering value through innovation and collaboration, Capital BlueCross continues to evolve, investing in products, services and partnerships to create an even healthier future for customers with more choice, greater convenience and enhanced quality of care. Through Capital Blue, the company’s one-of-a-kind health and wellness retail store, consumers have a place to go for in-person health insurance consultation and service, and for health and wellness information and programs, in a welcoming, convenient environment. Headquartered in Harrisburg, Pa., Capital BlueCross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association employing more than 1,800 people. For more information, visit