Hospitals Need to Review Worker Vaccination Policies

Hospitals Need to Review Worker Vaccination PoliciesSeptember 8, 2015 by Vickie Anenberg

Common sense dictates that every hospital worker should receive an annual flu vaccination. Yet, the immunization rates at many facilities are surprisingly low. Employees who are not vaccinated can present patient safety issues, and may have a negative impact on a hospital’s financial health as well.

Cross Country Staffing notes that in an attempt to improve rates of worker vaccination, many hospital policy makers are considering or have replaced voluntary immunization programs with mandatory policies. Late last year, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began requiring hospitals to report their rates of employee vaccination. The rule requires all staff be counted, including volunteers, for every person that worked any part of any day from October 1 to March 31, which is commonly considered the flu season. The numbers are then posted for the public to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network on Hospital Compare. Therefore, a low immunization rate may influence consumers to choose a facility with a higher rate when they need healthcare.

HealthLeaders Media has posted an in-depth article on this topic. It includes the positive results several hospitals have achieved from their in-house programs, and comments by Megan Lindley, who serves as the CDC’s healthcare worker vaccination expert. In the article, Lindley stated, “Facilities that offer vaccination to their personnel, on-site, at no cost, on multiple days and shifts, and have active programs promoting it have higher healthcare worker vaccination rates.”

Hospitals reporting their vaccination rates to the CDC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the inpatient quality reporting program are then eligible for a two percent increase in their Medicare payment. For many facilities, that can amount to a sizable increase in revenue.

Healthcare staffing policies and programs have become a complicated maze of challenges in the era of value-based reimbursement and HCAHPS, but Cross Country Staffing can help by providing workforce solutions that will meet your facility’s healthcare professional and IT staffing needs. We invite you to contact a Cross Country Staffing representative to learn more about how we can work together to implement staffing policies and programs that can provide positive results today and in the future.