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HaysMed: 99.3% of workers received flu shot

Special to The Hays Daily News

Flu season is upon us, and the best way to prevent the flu is through annual flu immunization.

In 2010, the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative started a four-year-campaign to increase the number of hospital health care workers receiving annual influenza immunizations as part of the effort to decrease health care-associated infections.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests health care workers have a role in the fight against flu, with immunization of workers linked to improved patient outcomes and reduced flu infection. Studies show the flu can cause nearly 48,000 deaths in the United States in a given year, and the CDC for many years has recommended an annual influenza immunization for health care workers. The influenza immunization of health professionals is critical in eliminating the transmission and outbreaks of the virus in the health care setting.

Locally, HaysMed reported 99.3 percent of its health care personnel, including medical staff, received a flu immunization during the 2011-12 flu season. The statewide rate for seasonal flu immunization for 2011-12, based on a survey where 100 percent of Kansas hospitals participated, was 83 percent; well above the national average of 67 percent.

While HaysMed's rate for health care workers is above the national and state average, they recognize there still is room for improvement.

"Our hospital has established a goal to maintain our seasonal influenza immunization rate at or above 99 percent by 2014." said Bevra Brinkman, infection prevention officer/quality specialist at HaysMed.

The goal is consistent with a provider-led-statewide project sponsored by the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative.

Founded in 2008 by the Kansas Medical Society and the Kansas Hospital Association, the mission of the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative is to transform health care through patient-centered initiatives that improve quality, safety and value.

For more information about HaysMed and its influenza immunization efforts, contact Brinkman at (785) 623-5589.