While the national and regional media’s focus has been on Ebola in recent weeks, the fact is that seasonal influenza is much more threatening to Kansans than any other illness. In 2013, Kansas reported 1,373 deaths from the flu or complications from the flu, and it was the seventh leading cause of death in Kansas. In late October, Kansas’ first case of influenza for the 2014-15 flu season was reported.
Kansas health care personnel are aware of the importance of protecting the health of patients and themselves. Since 2008, the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative (KHC) has spearheaded a campaign to increase the number of hospital health care personnel receiving yearly influenza vaccinations as part of a statewide effort to decrease health care-associated infections. The number of Kansas health care personnel receiving the influenza immunization continues to increase.
In a statewide hospital survey conducted by KHC in 2014, results indicated that 89.3 percent of hospital health care personnel, including medical staff, were vaccinated against seasonal influenza for the 2013-2014 flu season. This marks a 39.5 percent improvement in immunization rates from the baseline year of the survey in 2009. Responses were received from all 125 hospitals surveyed (100 percent response rate) in 2014. Immunization rates by flu season:
- 2013-2014: 89.3 percent
- 2012-2013: 87 percent
- 2011-2012: 83 percent
- 2010-2011: 78 percent
- 2009-2010: 76 percent
- 2008-2009: 64 percent
In an effort to reduce the spread of influenza and to protect the health of both patients and health care personnel, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all hospital health care personnel, including medical staff, receive the seasonal influenza vaccine. KHC established a state wide goal to increase the Kansas hospital health care personnel seasonal influenza immunization rate to 100 percent by 2014. KHC will continue to monitor the state’s progress by continuing annual surveys, education, and resource sharing.
Vaccinating health care personnel is a key measure in preventing the spread of influenza. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ recognizes the importance of the vaccination and in fiscal year 2015 began using data on influenza vaccination of health care personnel as a measure to determine payments.
KHC is a provider-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to transform health care through patient-centered initiatives that improve quality, safety and value. Founded in 2008 by the Kansas Hospital Association and the Kansas Medical Society, KHC embodies the commitment of two of the state’s leading health care provider groups to act as a resource and to continuously enhance the quality of care provided to Kansans. For more information about the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative visit www.khconline.org.
Released November 14, 2014