My family got flu shots on Friday. Quick and painless. Since it is in the “preventative health” category, it was covered under our health plan and there was no co-pay. I know this because our human resources department informed us of this benefit.
Then I read an article by Phil Betbeze of HealthLeaders titled, “Mandatory Flu Shots Mean You're Serious About Patient Safety.” The first thing that came to mind was, “Healthcare does practice what it preaches.”
Phil’s article begins:
Here's an easy opportunity to lead. Develop an iron-clad flu vaccination policy, and require your employees to get vaccinated unless they have a legitimate religious or medical exemption.
To many, it once did. But in today's healthcare environment, we're supposed to be about putting patients first.
Banner Health's Arizona East is one healthcare organization which has a policy on mandatory flu vaccination for employees who come in contact with patients at any time. The organization’s Chief Medical Officer, Marjorie Bessel, MD, says that the requirement is couched in the very reason most people choose to work in healthcare—to improve health.
Banner realizes that its employees, who are also patients, need information to make good healthcare decisions. To that end, Banner has set up numerous ways to make it easy for employees to comply. For example, the organization created a resource center on the its intranet that includes talking points, exemption forms and links to other outside organizations that support the policy.
At a time when our nation is facing tough healthcare challenges, I am pleased to see that hospitals as employers are using the same types of techniques to get their own employees to act on their health that doctors are using with their own patients. It’s about providing easy-to-understand resources, keeping the lines of communication open, offering advice and making it easy for people to get engaged in their health and wellness. It’s about encouraging responsibility and improving outcomes, which is where healthcare is ultimately headed.
Posted by Davida Dinerman on October 7, 2012 at 11:30 PM