Flu shots help keep hospitals from spreading illness in Marion County

In the midst of National Patient Safety Awareness Week, March 6-12, the two hospitals in Marion County report they are making progress to ensure that their health care personnel, including medical staff, are protecting patients by receiving annual flu shots.

At Hillsboro Community Hospital, statistics for the 2009-10 flu season show that 87 percent of its health care personnel were vaccinated. That is a 47 percent increase over the 2008-09 vaccination rate of 40 percent, according to hospital officials.

Statistics for the 2010-11 flu season were not reported.

Meanwhile, St. Luke Hospital in Marion reports that more than 85 percent of their health care personnel, including medical staff, received a flu vac?cin?a?tion during the 2009-10 flu season.

This is an 18 percent increase over the 2008-09 vaccination rate of 67 percent. According to St. Luke officials, the percentage for 2010-11 improved to 89 percent.

The statewide rate for seasonal flu immunization for 2009-10 was 76 percent?well above the national average that generally hovers around 40 percent during a typical year.

The results of the 2009-10 survey represents a 12 percentage point increase over last year?s rate, or a 19 percent increase over the previous year?s survey

The statewide rate was determined by a survey where 100 percent of Kansas hospitals participated.

Both HCH and St. Luke officials say their goal is to reach 100 percent participation by 2014. This goal is consistent with a provider-led statewide project sponsored by the Kansas Health?care Collaborative that sees the vaccination of health care professionals as critical in eliminating the transmission and outbreaks of the flu virus in the health care setting.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has linked the vaccination of health care workers to improved patient outcomes and reduced flu infection.

Studies show the flu can cause up to 48,000 deaths in the United States each year. The CDC for many years has recommended an annual influenza immunization for health care workers.

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