Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Provider Relations and Assessment Section: Intergrading VFC and AFIX Functions to Increase Immunization Rates

Decrecia Robinson, Oyeba Akyea, and Risha Jones. Immunization Program, Houston Department of Health and Human Services, 8000 N. Stadium Drive, 5th floor, Houston, TX, USA

Learning Objectives for this Presentation:
By the end of the presentation participants will be able to maximize resources in order to address immunization coverage levels.

The City of Houston's Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program averages 350 immunization providers who administer vaccinations to economically disadvantaged children and adolescents. However, Houston had historically low immunization coverage rates as measured by the National Immunization Survey (NIS). Therefore, considering human resources and budget constraints; Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) Immunization Program designed and implemented a workgroup coordinate customer service relations throughout the City.

Various immunization provider offices, childcare facilities, and schools

VFC Providers both public and private, childcare staff, and school nurses

Project Description:
Provider Relations and Assessment Section (PRAS) was designed to enhance and streamline customer relations between HDHHS staff and providers. PRAS staff members are assigned to provider offices, daycare centers, health care centers, and schools based upon geographic location. This allows for more personal change to more personal provider relations and for the representative to learn about practice and neighborhood issues in regards to immunizations. Duties and responsibilities for each PRAS representative includes disseminating key immunization messages; assessing all public and private providers within the City of Houston; conducting VFC recruitment; conducting registry provider recruitment; conducting targeted and non targeted provider education; and assisting with childcare outreach activities.

Results/Lessons Learned:
Since the inception of the program in 2005, Houston has increased immunization rates for children 19-35 months for the 4:3:1:3:3:1 series from 61.7% in 2004 to 69.9% in 2006 according to the annual National Immunization Survey. In addition, there has been a 34% increase in the number of completed private provider assessments along with increased daycare contacts and recruitment efforts for both VFC and immunization registries.