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Healthcare Provider Vaccination Rates Overdue in CA

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, September 8, 2010

California law requires the state to publish healthcare worker vaccination rates for each acute care hospital by March, 2010 but still has not done so, according to a report by Consumers Union, which has obtained some information through a Public Records Act request.

The consumer group said in a report released Friday that the state Department of Public Health released only aggregate and range statewide percentages, which revealed that as of the 2008-2009 influenza season, vaccination compliance among hospital workers was 52.4%.

Additionally, the group says the state released data showing that although there are 432 general acute care hospitals in California that should have reported, only 299 reported healthcare worker vaccination data.

"The public has a right to know if a hospital is serious about protecting patients from getting the flu from its healthcare workers," Consumers Union said. Additionally, the only way to assess whether healthcare worker immunization rates are improving each season is by publishing the hospital-specific rates."

The advocacy group said that the limited data gleaned from the state's release indicates the following:

  • Of the 299 hospitals, information on 246 reports was provided to CU by the CDPH. And of those, 67.9% had vaccination rates of less than 60%, the target rate set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It was not clear why vaccination rates for the remaining 53 facilities were not conveyed, but it may be in part because some hospitals are in the process of consolidation or affiliation and may be filing as one entity.
  • 32.1% had vaccination rates greater than 60%
  • 1.6% had vaccination rates greater than 80% the rate suggested by some experts as that which is necessary to prevent in-hospital transmission of influenza.
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