• Focusing on the Patient Encounter to Improve Adult Immunization Rates

      Moore, David A.; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Birkholz, Karla (The University of Arizona., 2012-05-01)
      Objective: Healthy People 2010 established target goals for the percentage of adults immunized against Pneumococcus and seasonal influenza. Our objective was to create a vaccine program to allow our family practice clinic to reach these goals. Methods: Initial chart review (n=50) determined our clinic’s baseline percentages for Pneumococcus and billing records identified the number of influenza vaccines administered the previous year. We developed a vaccine program focused on direct intervention and executed it in two six-month phases; the first focused on seasonal influenza, and the second targeted Pneumococcus. We determined program efficacy of phase one (influenza) via shot volume and phase two by measuring post-program vaccine percentages thru a second chart review (n=104). Results: Pneumococcal coverage for adults age ≥65 dropped from 47 to 39% [95% CI: 23-71% & 22-56%], well short of the Healthy 4 People 2010 target of 90%. We measured a 16% volume increase in the administration of the seasonal influenza vaccine. Significance: Vaccines have tangible and positive effects on patient health. Direct intervention is an effective method for physicians to improve vaccine percentages, but is costly and time consuming.
    • Pediatricians’ Attitudes and Practices Regarding Patient Immunization in Arizona

      Khan, Soofia; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Sunenshine, Rebecca (The University of Arizona., 2012-04-30)
      Background: Despite the widespread availability of vaccines, including to the uninsured, significant numbers of both children and adults, remain unvaccinated or undervaccinated. Many reasons, including an increasing financial burden on primary care practices, availability of access to healthcare, and beliefs regarding vaccine safety, have been implicated; however, increasing concern has arisen regarding insurance payments for vaccines to providers [2, 5, 8]. Due to these concerns, we conducted a survey to understand the attitudes, perceptions and practices of Arizona pediatricians regarding vaccines and their reimbursement by insurance companies. Methods: In February 2011, 1407 standardized surveys were emailed, 87 surveys were faxed, and 216 surveys were mailed to AZ pediatricians who were listed in the Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics membership database. Results: From the 138 (9.0% response rate) responses, we identified that about half of all provider respondents refer insured and uninsured 5 patients to public health or other outside clinics for vaccines. The most common reason for outside patient referral for vaccine is inadequate reimbursement by insurance companies, and approximately one-third of providers did not vaccinate a patient due to inadequate reimbursement. Additionally, the vast majority of providers were interested in participating in a buying group run by TAPI. Conclusions: Based on our survey, inadequate reimbursement for vaccines by insurance companies negatively affects Arizona pediatricians’ provision of immunizations. A provider buying group coordinated by a not for profit immunization coalition is one possible solution for this problem.