Johnson Memorial Health Services (JMHS) was among 180 hospitals and nursing homes from around the state recognized by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for achieving high influenza vaccination rates among the facility’s employees during the 2013-14 flu season.
94% of Hospital and 83% of Care Center employees received influenza vaccinations during the past season of the Minnesota FluSafe program. The facility received Blue and Red ribbons certificates of achievement from Minnesota Health Commissioner Edward Ehlinger for its efforts.
The FluSafe program aims to get 100 percent of all health care personnel at hospitals and nursing homes in Minnesota, except those with medical exemptions, vaccinated against influenza each season. According to state health officials, unvaccinated health care workers can pass highly contagious influenza to their patients, many of whom are at high risk for complications from influenza.
“Our patients’ & residents’ health is our top priority,” said Kathy Johnson, CEO/Administrator of JMHS. “Participating in the FluSafe program helps us increase employee influenza vaccination rates and prevent flu from spreading to our patients and residents. We also want all of our employees to be as healthy as possible during flu season.”
Of the 213 facilities that participated in FluSafe this year, 60 reached vaccination levels of 90 percent or greater, 63 reached levels greater than 80 percent, and 57 facilities reached vaccination rates of between 70 and 80 percent. There are approximately 145 hospitals and about 375 nursing homes in the state.
“Johnson Memorial Health Services efforts to vaccinate their employees against flu highlights their dedication to keeping their staff and patients healthy,” said Kristen Ehresmann, director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Prevention and Control Division at MDH. “Facilities participating in FluSafe—whether they receive a ribbon or not—are key partners in preventing the spread of influenza by increasing health care worker vaccination.”
The FluSafe program offers health care facilities guidance and access to tools and promotional materials from MDH and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help them increase their influenza vaccination rates. The facilities record and document their vaccinations through MDH’s electronic immunization information system (MIIC).
National rates of influenza vaccination of health care workers are estimated at 72 percent.
More information on the FluSafe program, including a list of the 2013-14 facilities earning blue, red and white ribbons, can be found on the MDH website at mdhflu.com.