July 06, 2012
For immediate release
Contact: Gerry Ewing / 503-681-1654
Tuality Healthcare’s flu immunization program is one of three healthcare systems in Oregon to be awarded “honor roll” status by the Immunization Action Coalition.
The program, implemented by Nina Larkins, RN, of the company’s employee health department, resulted in nearly 90 percent of employees receiving a flu shot. The other systems to receive honor roll status were Cottage Grove Community Hospital in Cottage Grove and Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield. The Immunization Action Coalition is a non-profit funded in part by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) that works to increase immunization rates and prevent disease.
The reason for immunizations is simple - flu shots promote a safe hospital environment for employees and patients. Twenty percent of Americans get the flu each year and around 36,000 deaths a year are flu-related, according to the CDC. The Joint Commission, the accreditation agency for hospitals, is mandating 90 percent flu shot rates for health care systems by 2020.
“This is something to be proud about as an organization,” said Larkins. “This is great news,” said Manny Berman, Tuality’s chief operating officer and administrator.
Flu vaccinations at Tuality were delivered on a voluntary basis. However, during flu season, non-vaccinated staff were asked to wear a mask while doing patient care or within 6 feet of patients or in public places such as hallways or waiting rooms. Employees who received a flu shot were given a red dot with a check mark to display on their employee card as proof of vaccination.
Employee health used multiple ways to deliver shots – roving carts, staff meetings, delivery of shots off-site and a lunch-time station in the library near the cafeteria. A big boost, according to Larkins, was a series of photos showing Eunice Rech, RN, Tuality’s chief clinical officer, giving flu shots to Berman, Tuality Chief Executive Officer Dick Stenson and Tuality Chief Financial Officer Tim Fleischmann.