More than half of respondents in MGMA Stat poll require flu shots for at least some staff

By Shannon Geis, MA
August 3, 2017

Flu season is just around the corner, is your practice ready? In the Aug. 1 MGMA Stat poll, 46% of respondents said they mandate flu vaccines for all staff – not just clinical staff or those in contact with patients – while 33% said they do not require flu vaccinations for any staff. Most respondents whose organizations require the flu vaccine for any of their staff said it is offered in their own facility.

According to the most recent data collected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), early season vaccination coverage was much higher among staff whose employers required (85.8%) or recommended (68.4%) that they be vaccinated, compared with those whose employer did not have a recommendation (43.4%) during the 2014-15 season. Mandating the vaccine may have a big effect on how many of your employees get the shot.

However, the idea of mandating flu shots for healthcare workers has received pushback in recent years, including a recent study that concluded the research use to justify mandatory vaccination is flawed.

Still, the CDC recommends that all healthcare workers get vaccinated annually against influenza to enhance patient safety, including staff not directly involved in patient care but who could transmit the disease to other healthcare workers or patients. And make sure to check your state guidelines – some states require healthcare workers get vaccinated.

Healthcare occupations with the highest coverage were pharmacists (86.7%), nonphysician providers (85.8%), physicians (82.2%), nurses (81.4%) and other clinical professionals (72%). Coverage was lowest among administrative and non-clinical support staff (59.1%), according to the CDC.

As you think about how to prepare your practice for flu season, consider incorporating extended hours, as many practices have, to deal with the influx of sick patients.

Shannon Geis, MA, Staff writer/editor, MGMA

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