Madison — A large integrated health care system in eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois increased its influenza vaccination rate to 97.7 percent after adopting a condition-of-employment policy in 2011, according to an article in the current issue of WMJ (vol. 111, no. 2). The policy requires all employees with and without direct patient contact, contracted providers, students and volunteers to receive an annual influenza vaccination or an approved exemption by December 31 each year.
Upon adoption of the policy, Aurora began broad communications that emphasized the requirement as a patient safety intervention. An exemption review committee also was created with members representing medicine, care management, employee health, human resources, organizational development and legal.
“Adoption of a similar process among health care systems that fail to achieve 90 percent employee vaccination rates has been proposed by the National Vaccine Advisory Committee,” the authors wrote. “Such a program would have the greatest impact during severe influenza seasons, which disproportionally affect HCWs who much be available to serve the public.”