Franklin Memorial Hospital Recognized for Employee Influenza Immunization Rates
Rate exceeded 85 percent
November 7, 2012
From left: Jamie Paul, Maine CDC public health liaison; Rebecca Ryder, FMH president; Pam Hadley, FMH infection prevention and control/employee health coordinator; Dr. Michael Rowland, vice president medical affairs; and Heidi Mallis, Maine CDC epidemiologist. Absent at time of photo was Tracy Brooks, RN, support nurse; and Beth O'Donnell, administrative assistant.
On election day, representatives from the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) presented officials at Franklin Memorial Hospital (FMH) a certificate for vaccinating more than 85 percent of its employees against influenza last flu season. Just 15 of 40 Maine hospitals achieved or surpassed this level.
Heidi Mallis, Maine CDC epidemiologist, read a prepared statement from Dr. Stephen Sears, state epidemiologist that stated, “Health care personnel are the first line of defense in diagnosing, treating, and preventing the spread of influenza. Maine CDC supports all efforts to ensure that health care personnel are kept safe and healthy, so they can do their important jobs. Vaccination of all health care workers protects vulnerable patients against influenza and is an important component of a patient safety program.”
The FMH rate of flu vaccination for employees was 89.4 percent for last year’s flu season, while the average rate for Maine hospitals was 77.1 percent according to the Maine CDC.
This year’s efforts started on September 24 and will continue through December with the goal of achieving or exceeding a rate of 90 percent. For maximum convenience, vaccine for employees is offered by all the Franklin Health medical practices, the Androscoggin Medical Arts Center, and at rotating locations throughout the hospital. Pam Hadley, infection prevention and control/employee health coordinator, sends daily e-mail reminders to employees to inform them which hospital department is providing flu shots for that day—an approach that has proved to be very successful.
“Influenza is a serious illness and an annual flu vaccine is its best defense. For the past two years our board of directors has made a commitment to 100 percent vaccination rates among members to demonstrate the importance of this preventive measure,” said Rebecca Ryder, FMH president. “I’m very pleased that our governing board is leading by example.”
According to Dr. Michael Rowland, vice president medical affairs, FMH enacted a new policy in 2011 consistent with strategies for increasing rates of vaccinations among health care workers as outlined by the U.S. CDC and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The policy requires all employees to either receive influenza vaccine or sign a declination form by December 31. Those who do not receive the vaccine are required to use a mask anytime they are within six feet of a patient during influenza season.
FMH provides information on influenza and how to stay healthy during flu season on its Web site at www.fchn.org/news/flu-updates. In addition, a prerecorded flu hotline offers information about influenza prevention and local flu vaccine availability by calling 779-3147.
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