PA Department of Health to Honor Abington Health for Universal
Influenza Vaccination Program
ABINGTON, PA (October 3, 2011) — Abington Health was
recently recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) for
achieving a vaccination rate of 98.9 percent during last year’s flu season,
during the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania’s (HAP) annual
Patient Safety Symposium. Representatives from both the DOH and HAP will be on
hand Wednesday, October 12, 2011 to honor Abington Health at a ceremony at
Abington Memorial Hospital.
“The influenza season of 2010-2011 represented an important
touchstone for us as a healthcare system and medical staff,” said John J.
Kelly, M.D., chief of staff and chief patient safety officer, Abington Memorial
“We committed ourselves to an annual universal influenza
vaccination as a safeguard for our patients, ourselves and our loved ones at
home, by effectively creating a culture of ‘Herd Immunity’ – the concept of
protecting a community against certain diseases by having a high percentage of
the community’s population immunized,” continued Kelly. “By immunizing our
employees and physicians, patients and visitors benefit, as the spread of
influenza is severely limited. This goes a long way to keeping our employees,
physicians and their families healthy, as well.”
Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems have demonstrated
consistent leadership in patient safety initiatives, including the prevention
of health care-associated infections. Abington Health, one of seven PA health
care organizations recognized for taking the lead on the mandatory influenza
vaccination policy, has helped make significant progress in turning the policy
into a state-wide pledge. HAP and the DOH have adopted the same sentiment and
officially launched the health care personnel universal influenza vaccination campaign
at HAP’s Patient Safety Symposium.
During the past few months, HAP has participated in a task
force that includes representatives from DOH, the Patient Safety Authority
(PSA), the Pennsylvania Immunization Coalition, and the Center for Vaccine Ethics
and Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. DOH hosted state-wide regional
training programs during July about employee vaccination and patient safety to
address policy and ethical issues, best practices, and how to overcome barriers
to universal vaccination. Several HAP members that have achieved near universal
employee vaccination, including Abington Health, served as faculty for the
regional meetings and HAP’s Patient Safety Symposium, and agreed to be the
subject of case studies in a guidebook.
“Our organization of nearly 7,000 employees, medical staff
members and volunteers set the bar high and hurdled it. The ‘Flu Team’ did a
phenomenal job of educating and communicating, and the campaign was an
extraordinary success,” said Kelly.
Abington Health will celebrate the recognition
on October 12, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. with a small reception in the Abington
Memorial Hospital board room.