22693 Honoring Healthcare Institutions with Stellar Influenza Vaccination Policies

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Grand Hall
Mary Quirk, BS , Writer/Consultant, Immunization Action Coalition

Background: Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent influenza transmission in healthcare settings. Although many healthcare institutions mandate the use of a declination form for vaccine refusers, U.S. healthcare worker influenza vaccination rates have only reached 50 percent. Recently, a small number of hospitals have achieved high influenza vaccination rates among their staff by implementing measures to protect their patients such as requiring masks for or dismissing employees who refuse vaccination.  

Setting: Healthcare systems, hospitals, and medical practices.

Population: All healthcare workers in the facility who have patient contact (employees and nonemployees).

Project Description: The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) initiated the Honor Roll for Patient Safety to give special recognition to those healthcare institutions that enforce strong policies to protect their patients from influenza. To be included in the Honor Roll, an organization’s mandate must require influenza vaccination for all persons who have patient contact, including all healthcare workers, students, volunteers, and ancillary staff. For those who refuse vaccination or cannot be vaccinated, the mandate must include serious measures to prevent transmission of influenza to patients. Such measures might include a mask requirement, reassignment to non-patient-care duties, or dismissal of the employee. On October 9, 2009, IAC issued a press release announcing its launch of the Honor Roll for Patient Safety on the immunize.org website. To be considered for the Honor Roll, applicants must complete an online form describing the institution's influenza vaccination requirements. To date, 37 facilities have qualified for inclusion in the Honor Roll for Patient Safety.

Results/Lessons Learned: The Honor Roll serves as a repository of model mandate language that could be adapted by other institutions seeking to enhance patient safety through vaccination.

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