Partners HealthCare takes a tough new approach to the prevention of influenza.For the first time, the state's largest network of…
Partners HealthCare takes a tough new approach to the prevention of influenza.
For the first time, the state’s largest network of hospitals and doctors requires that all 74,000 employees receive vaccination against the flu. Employees who do not receive the vaccine and do not have a valid reason to skip may risk losing their jobs, even if they are not working with or near patients.
Although Partners are not the first healthcare provider to mandate vaccination ̵
1; other hospitals require cross-border shots for employees working close to the patient – Partnership Policy seems to be particularly strict.
Moved is important because Partners are the state’s largest private employer, so its policies are supervised by other companies in health care and other areas.
Partners’ new policies, which came into force this fall, seem to work. With regard to the latest accounts, 99 percent of employees had been vaccinated or received an exemption for religious or medical reasons, partner partners said in the week.
The policy applies to hospital workers as well as thousands based on the partners’ big corporate offices in Somerville. While most of Somerville employees do not work directly with patients, they can come into contact with and spread sickness to colleagues who regularly see patients.
“If you can and is unwilling to protect you and protect our patients [from the flu]you probably should not work in the healthcare,” said Dr Gregg S. Meyer, Partner’s Chief Clinic Officer. “My sincere hope is that absolutely no one will lose his job over it. . . . We will do all we can to convince people. “
The last flu season was record breaking. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 900,000 Americans were in hospitals and over 80,000 died of flu last season.
The effectiveness of influenza vaccine varies – last season reduced the risk of disease by 40 percent – but medical experts say it’s far better than no defense at all. CDC recommends vaccination for almost every 6 months and over.
“My expectation is that we do not put anyone in danger to society,” said Meyer. “Something else than to really make sure we are all vaccinated is not acceptable. “
Partners are parent companies of Massachusetts General, Brigham and Women, and several other hospitals. The company’s new rules are modeled on a mandatory vaccination policy conducted at Brigham last year.
Massachusetts Nursing Association was trying to stop Brigham’s policy, but the union’s f all dismissed in Suffolk Superior Court in March.
Brigham’s spokeswoman Lori Schroth said five employees were terminated in order not to get their flu shots last season: three administrative workers, a research coordinator and a health care technician. She said 98 percent of the employees received the vaccine last season while 2 percent got exemptions.
Nursing Science still has concerns about the mandatory vaccination policy, according to a union spokesman, but it is not planning any further legal action. 19659002] The Massachusetts Department of Public Health requires hospitals and other healthcare centers to offer free flu shot to employees and trace how many employees are vaccinated.
Healthcare facilities have been working to increase vaccination rates. A median of 94 percent of Massachusetts hospital workers was vaccinated last flu season, according to the Department of Public Health. It rises significantly from only 53 percent of hospital workers who were vaccinated a decade ago.
The Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association, an industry group, supports policies requiring all healthcare professionals to be vaccinated and several hospitals have already made vaccination mandatory for employees working directly with patients.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center requires influenza vaccination for “all employees and physicians who have patient contact”. Since the policy began in 2012, two employees were terminated or terminated because they failed to follow, spokesman Jennifer Kritz said.
The Boston Children‘s Hospital began a mandatory 2010 vaccination policy for all workers who have access to patient care areas, but hospital staff refused to say if they have fired anyone to refuse the vaccine.
All Boston Medical Center employees must be vaccinated. Those who can not be vaccinated and not receive an exception must stay out of work without paying until they comply with the policy. Spokesman David Kibbe said hospital officials work with all employees to ensure compliance and have not completed anyone to refuse the vaccine.
Some hospitals have more mild policies that allow employees to ban the vaccine. But even in these cases, employees must generally wear masks when in patient areas.
Martin W. Healy, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Bar Association, said hospitals that make vaccination mandatory for their workers must allow exceptions – otherwise they may be sentenced for discrimination.
“It definitely needs procedures and policies that are being introduced … to have reasonable accommodation for workers who can not get the vaccination for one reason or another,” said Healy.
High flu season is on the horizon. Fall of flu usually spikes from December to February, according to the CDC.