National Sepsis Policy
sepsis policy

Our National Policy Approach.

END SEPSIS is committed to securing a comprehensive national approach to ending preventable deaths from sepsis. We advocate for, and develop, innovative, pragmatic policy proposals focused on better understanding the toll of sepsis and implementing effective, realistic solutions and incentives to reduce the burden of sepsis on families, the healthcare system and the economy. We believe that the solution to the sepsis crisis lies in a coordinated approach by Congress, the White House, federal healthcare agencies including CDC and CMS, research institutions and patient advocates.


National Sepsis Policy Expert Panel.

In 2021, END SEPSIS convened a distinguished panel of leading sepsis experts to spearhead an initiative to improve the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis patients through national healthcare policy. The founding group includes clinicians, academics, policymakers and families–all with deep knowledge of the epidemiology of sepsis and the policy measures that can limit the incidence of sepsis and improve patient outcomes. Visit our Expert Panel page to learn more about our panel of experts.

Federal Funding for Sepsis

2024: $3 Million for the CDC

In the FY24 Congressional Budget, Congress allocated $3 million in sepsis funding to the CDC to assess the impact of its Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements and improve the program using sepsis data from hospitals. This in turn will promote the awareness and uptake of the sepsis Core Elements.  The funding also requires CMS and CDC to develop hospital quality measures for adu;t and pediatric sepsis.

This is the largest amount ever allocated directly to combatting sepsis. END SEPSIS was instrumental in the allocation of these funds.

Sepsis.—The Committee provides $3,000,000 within Emerging Infectious Diseases to integrate sepsis data from hospitals into the National Healthcare Safety Network [NHSN] to enable CDC to assess the impact of policies and programs (including sepsis ‘Core Elements’) across hospitals and assist in the improvement of sepsis care. These data will promote awareness and uptake of CDC’s sepsis initiatives including the sepsis Core Elements through public and private clinical care partnerships and events based on the successful CDC strategy employed for antibiotic resistance and stewardship campaign, as appropriate. CDC, in collaboration with CMS, will use the quality measure development process to develop new, or identify existing, hospital quality measures for adult and pediatric sepsis.


2023: Funding for Sepsis Research and Reporting and Directives for CMS and CDC

In late 2022, several of our Expert Panel’s policy proposals were funded in the FY23 Senate Appropriations bill. This marked the first time that sepsis funding and directives had been included in the federal budget. The FY23 Omnibus Spending Bill included two major provisions relating to sepsis:

  1. Funding the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to “conduct a comprehensive set of studies that calculate the morbidity, readmissions, and mortality related to sepsis with respect to pediatrics, maternal sepsis, nursing home care, and rehab, and the association of pandemic-related changes in the healthcare system on the burden of sepsis.” The study will also examine the annual financial costs of sepsis in the United States. These studies will remedy serious gaps in our understanding of the overall burden of sepsis. The information gathered will enable the successful allocation of resources and development of effective strategies to combat the sepsis crisis. 
  2. The requirement that CMS, in collaboration with CDC, develop new or identify existing quality and outcome measures for adult and pediatric sepsis and that CMS and CDC coordinate to develop or identify processes to publicly report quantitative and qualitative information regarding sepsis care. Furthermore, it explicitly directs CMS and CDC to examine New York’s own sepsis hospital measures (Rory’s Regulations) when developing their own, citing their success in substantially reducing sepsis mortality through “implementation of evidence-based outcome measures, implementation of evidence-based process measures, and mandatory hospital sepsis protocols, whereby all New York hospitals must train staff to treat patients according to updated and locally developed evidence-based protocols for early recognition and treatment.” This is the first momentous step towards national sepsis outcome  measures for both adult and pediatric patients–which we have been fighting for since Rory Staunton died 10 years ago.

Federal Sepsis Programs

The Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements

In 2023, The CDC released their Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements, which closely emulate the Core Elements of Antimicrobial Resistance, a highly successful program that CMS has adopted as a Condition of Participation for hospitals. END SEPSIS actively campaigned for the CDC and CMS to use the same approach for sepsis as they used for AMR and the release of the Sepsis Core Elements is a major step in this direction. The Core Elements offer guidelines to hospitals on how to develop and run effective hospital sepsis programs. They provide a framework for collaboration across departments, tracking, reporting, education and accountability and the commitment from hospital leadership to allocate resources to the effort.

Read more about the Sepsis Core Elements.


National Awareness

National Sepsis Awareness Day

At the request of END SEPSIS, September 13 was declared National Sepsis Awareness Day on the floor of the US Senate. Senator Schumer spoke to the gravity of the sepsis crisis and the need for a national approach to combat it. This was a bipartisan initiative supported by the leadership of both parties. By proclaiming a national day of awareness, the Senate focused public attention on this public health emergency.


Other Policy Achievements

Rory’s Regulations.

One example of a successful protocolized approach to sepsis care is Rory’s Regulations. The sepsis regulations were introduced in New York State in 2013 on the initiative of END SEPSIS and its partners, including the New York State Department of Health, Northwell Health, the Hospital Association of New York State and the Greater New York Hospital Association. Under Rory’s Regulations, named after Rory Staunton who died aged 12 years from unidentified and untreated sepsis, every hospital in New York State is required to develop evidence-based protocols for the early identification and treatment of sepsis. Critically, the state requires sepsis outcome data to be submitted to the NYS Department of Health for review. Rory’s Regulations save thousands of lives each year. You can read more about New York’s sepsis protocols here on our Sepsis Protocols page. Per the NYS Department of Health Rory’s Regulations saved 16,000 lives in the first four years of operation.

If you or a loved one has been impacted by sepsis, please consider joining our national policy campaign. Your voice and story are powerful in winning the hearts and minds of those with the power to effect real and lasting change–and save lives from sepsis. Learn how you can Join the Fight.