Archive for the ‘FLU/IMMUNIZATION UPDATES’ Category

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INFLUENZA UPDATE: Flu Now Prevalent Across NYS, Including Nassau County

Friday, December 20th, 2013

DATE: December 19, 2013
TO: All Article 28, 36, and 40 Healthcare and Residential Facilities and Agencies
FROM: Office of the Commissioner
Health Advisory:
NYS Department of Health Commissioner Declares Influenza Prevalent in the State.
Please distribute immediately to: Administration, Medical Director, Infection Prevention, Nursing Administration, Risk Management.
The New York State Department of Health Commissioner Nirav Shah, MD, MPH, declares influenza to be prevalent in New York State for the 2013-14 influenza season, as of the date of this announcement. In accordance with Section 2.59 of the New York State Sanitary Code (10 NYCRR § 2.59), all healthcare and residential facilities and agencies regulated pursuant to Article 28, 36, or 40 of the Public Health Law, shall ensure that all personnel, as defined in the regulation, not vaccinated against influenza for the current influenza season wear a surgical or procedure mask while in areas where patients or residents may be present.
This declaration shall remain in effect until the Commissioner declares influenza no longer prevalent in New York State.
At this time, please activate your facility’s or agency’s policy and procedure to ensure compliance with 10 NYCRR § 2.59.
Frequently Asked Questions regarding the regulation and other resources are available at http://health.ny.gov/FluMaskReg.
For more information please direct questions to FluMaskReg@health.state.ny.us
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NYS Bureau of Immunization 2013-2014 Influenza Season Flyer Sent

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013


The NYS DOH’s Bureau of Immunization’s 2013-2014 Immunization Flyer.

The 2013-2014 influenza season was recently sent to physicians across the state  (excluding NYC). If you have any questions, please let their office know.

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New York Medical Staff Required To Get Flu Vaccines Or Wear Masks.

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Any facility defined as a hospital pursuant to Article 28, a home services agency by PHL
Article 36, or a hospice by PHL Article 40 will be required to comply. In New York State there
are 228 general hospitals, 1198 hospital extension clinics, 1239 diagnostic and treatment centers,
and 635 nursing homes. There are also 139 certified home health agencies (CHHAs), 97 long
term home health care programs (LTHHCP), 19 hospices and 1164 licensed home care services
agencies (LHCSAs).
Of those, it is known that 3 general hospitals, approximately 237 diagnostic and treatment
centers, 40 nursing homes, 69 CHHAs, 36 hospices and 860 LHCSAs are small businesses
(defined as 100 employees or less), independently owned and operated, affected by this rule.
Local governments operate 18 hospitals, 40 nursing homes, 42 CHHAs, at least 7 LHCSAs, and
a number of diagnostic and treatment centers and hospices.
Compliance Requirements:
All facilities and agencies must document the vaccination status of each personnel
member as defined in this regulation for influenza virus, in their personnel or other appropriate
record. Each facility must develop a policy and procedure which requires all personnel who
have not been vaccinated for influenza during the current influenza season to wear a surgical or
procedure mask.

The New York Health Department is now “requiring thousands of medical staff and other personnel statewide to get vaccinated” against influenza “or else wear masks when in close contact with patients.” The new “rules apply to more than 4,000 hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centers, nursing homes, hospices and home care agencies statewide.” The rules were adopted two months ago, but will go into effect when officials deem influenza to be rampant. Documentation of compliance, as well as employee vaccination status, must be maintained by all health facilities.

Effect of Rule:

Any facility defined as a hospital pursuant to Article 28, a home services agency by PHL  Article 36, or a hospice by PHL Article 40 will be required to comply. In New York State there are 228 general hospitals, 1198 hospital extension clinics, 1239 diagnostic and treatment centers,  and 635 nursing homes. There are also 139 certified home health agencies (CHHAs), 97 long  term home health care programs (LTHHCP), 19 hospices and 1164 licensed home care services agencies (LHCSAs).

Of those, it is known that 3 general hospitals, approximately 237 diagnostic and treatment  centers, 40 nursing homes, 69 CHHAs, 36 hospices and 860 LHCSAs are small businesses  (defined as 100 employees or less), independently owned and operated, affected by this rule.

Local governments operate 18 hospitals, 40 nursing homes, 42 CHHAs, at least 7 LHCSAs, and  a number of diagnostic and treatment centers and hospices.

Compliance Requirements:

All facilities and agencies must document the vaccination status of each personnel member as defined in this regulation for influenza virus, in their personnel or other appropriate record. Each facility must develop a policy and procedure which requires all personnel who have not been vaccinated for influenza during the current influenza season to wear a surgical or procedure mask.

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INFLUENZA VACCINE COVERAGE EXPANDED

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

ATTENTION PHYSICIANS

For dates of service on or after August 1, 2013, the following influenza vaccine codes will be available for billing for certain age groups:

*90672 INFLUENZA VIRUS VACCINE, QUADRIVALENT, LIVE, FOR INTRANASAL USE

For beneficiaries 2 years of age to 49 years of age

90685 INFLUENZA VIRUS VACCINE, QUADRIVALENT, SPLIT VIRUS, PRESERVATIVE FREE, WHEN ADMINISTERED TO CHILDREN 6-35 MONTHS OF AGE, FOR INTRAMUSCULAR USE

For beneficiaries 6 months to 35 months only.

*90686 INFLUENZA VIRUS VACCINE, QUADRIVALENT, SPLIT VIRUS, PRESERVATIVE FREE, WHEN ADMINISTERED TO INDIVIDUALS 3 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER, FOR INTRAMUSCULAR USE

*The administration of these vaccines to adults 18 years of age and older is also available through Medicaid enrolled pharmacies with pharmacists qualified to administer immunizations.

Questions may be referred to the Office of Health Insurance Programs Operations at (800) 342-3005.

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CDC Begins Shipping 2013-2014 Flu Vaccine

Friday, September 6th, 2013

The Washington Times (9/6, Somers) reports that “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has begun shipping this season’s vaccines,” but officials have not made any guesses into the potential “severity of this season because ‘flu seasons are highly unpredictable.’” The flu shot for this year will include an H1N1-like virus and an H3N2-like virus, and “are chosen based on what viruses are most likely to cause illness in the coming season.” On its website, the CDC says it considers “which influenza virus strains are circulating, how they are spreading, and how well current vaccine strains protect against newly identified strains.”

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New York Physicians Required To Offer Hepatitis C Test For Baby Boomers.

Monday, July 8th, 2013

On its website, WNYC-FM New York (7/3, Mogul) reported the New York legislature became the first in the nation to pass a bill that requires physicians offer Hepatitis C screening for baby boomer patients. The CDC believes “that more than 3 million people in the United States have it, and it has recommended that all baby boomers be tested since they are five times more likely than the general population to have been exposed to contaminated blood.” Additionally, a recommendation by the US Preventive Services Task Force last month advised “physicians offer the testing to patients born between 1945 and 1965.” The article mentioned the Medical Society of the State of New York opposes the bill, claiming it is a “very direct intrusion” on the physician-patient relationship.

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Flu Immunization Update for Medicare Physicians

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Flu Season is Here! While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, flu activity usually peaks in January. Remind your patients that annual vaccination is recommended for optimal protection. Medicare pays for the seasonal flu vaccine and its administration for seniors and others with Medicare with no co-pay or deductible. Healthcare workers, who may spread the flu to high risk patients, should get vaccinated too. Don’t forget to immunize yourself and your staff. Protect your patients. Protect your family. Protect yourself. Get the Flu Vaccine—Not the Flu.

Remember – The flu vaccine plus its administration are covered Part B benefits.  CMS has posted the 2011-2012 seasonal flu vaccine payment limits at http://www.CMS.gov/McrPartBDrugAvgSalesPrice/10_VaccinesPricing.asp.  Note that the flu vaccine is NOT a Part D-covered drug.

For more information on coverage and billing of the flu vaccine and its administration, as well as related educational provider resources, visit http://www.CMS.gov/MLNProducts/35_PreventiveServices.asp and http://www.cms.gov/immunizations.

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Problem with September 2011 Influenza Vaccine Pricing

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Description of the Problem

For dates of service in September 2011, influenza vaccinations are being priced using the 2010-2011 influenza season rates.

What This Means to You

Providers are receiving incorrect payment for influenza vaccination claims. If you identify influenza vaccinations where you were paid incorrectly, please hold your appeal requests. As soon as the pricing files are updated you will be notified and you may request an adjustment of your claims. Until the new pricing files are uploaded National Government Services cannot reprocess any claims. If you have not already submitted your influenza vaccinations for September, please consider holding your claims until the new pricing files are in effect.

Current Status

10/20/2011: National Government Services is aware of this issue and is working in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in order to rectify the pricing disparity as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

National Government Services, Inc.

Corporate Communications

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All Pregnant Women Should Get the Flu Vaccine

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Flu Prevention is Essential Prenatal Care

Washington, DC — All pregnant women, regardless of trimester, should get the influenza vaccination during the flu season, according to new recommendations issued today by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and published in the October issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. The College emphasizes that preventing the flu during pregnancy is an essential element of prenatal care and that it is imperative that physicians, healthcare organizations, and public health officials improve their efforts to increase immunization rates among pregnant women.

Last week, the CDC, along with The College and other medical organizations, encouraged all physicians and health care providers to urge their pregnant and postpartum patients to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu.

Annual flu vaccination is crucial for pregnant women because the immune system changes during pregnancy, which results in women being at increased risk of serious complications if they get the flu. Flu vaccination performs double duty by protecting both pregnant women and their babies. Babies cannot be vaccinated against the flu until they are six months old, but they receive antibodies from their mother which help protect them until they can be vaccinated.

“The flu is a highly infectious virus and can be especially serious for the very young, those with certain medical conditions, and pregnant women,” said Richard N. Waldman, MD, president of The College. “Pregnant women were disproportionately affected by flu complications last year—some went into premature labor, some developed pneumonia, and unfortunately, some died.”

Vaccination early in the flu season is optimal, but can be given at any time during this period, regardless of the stage of pregnancy. The College advises that all women who are or become pregnant during the annual flu season (October through May) get the inactivated flu vaccine. Women can also receive the flu vaccine postpartum and while they are breastfeeding if they missed it during pregnancy. The live attenuated version of the flu vaccine (the nasal mist) should not be given to pregnant women.

According to the CDC, the seasonal flu vaccine is made the same way each year. “The only difference from year to year is that new strains of virus are used to make the vaccine based on which are predicted to be most prevalent,” said William M. Callaghan, MD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) liaison to The College’s Committee on Obstetric Practice. There have been no studies showing adverse effects of the inactivated flu vaccine for pregnant women or their children, according to The College. “Millions of pregnant women have received the flu vaccine over the past 45 years, and no studies have shown harm to them or their babies,” said Dr. Callaghan.

Despite concerns about thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines, there is no scientific evidence that it causes harm to women or their infants. The only side effect is the occasional local skin reaction at the injection site. “There are seasonal flu vaccines that don’t contain thimerosal, so people who remain concerned can ask for those,” said Dr. Callaghan.

Dr. Callaghan notes that The College’s recommendation to increase the vaccination rate among pregnant women dovetails with the CDC’s push for physicians to offer the flu vaccine to every patient age six months and older at every opportunity.

Committee Opinion #468, “Influenza Vaccination During Pregnancy,” is published in the October 2010 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

# # #

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of approximately 55,000 members, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care.

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Information on the 2010-2011 Influenza Season

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

August 30, 2010
Dear Influenza Vaccine Provider:
This letter is intended to encourage you to continue to vaccinate against influenza and to provide you with information on the 2010-2011 influenza season.
For those providers who have previously administered influenza vaccinations to your patients, we hope that you will strongly consider continuing in your role as a vaccine provider. You should review your influenza vaccine purchasing options and assess the needs of your
practice or organization. For more information on distributors and influenza vaccine availability, please visit the following websites:
 New York State Vaccines for Children Program
http://www.nyhealth.gov/prevention/immunization/vaccines_for_children.htm
 Influenza Vaccine Distributor Information
http://www.flusupplynews.com/resources.cfm
 Influenza Vaccine Availability Tracking System (IVATS)
http://www.preventinfluenza.org/ivats/ivats_healthcare.asp.
On February 24, 2010 vaccine experts voted that everyone 6 months and older should get flu vaccine each year starting with the 2010-2011 influenza season. The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted for “universal” flu vaccination in the U.S. to expand protection against the flu to more people. Please also note that the following virus strains will be contained in the trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine for the 2010-2011 seasonal influenza:

  • A/California/7/09 (H1N1)-like virus (pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza virus)
  • A/Perth /16/2009 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus

A higher dose formulation of an inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine (Fluzone High- Dose, manufactured by sanofi pasteur, licensed by FDA on December 23, 2009) for use in people age 65 years and older will also be available in the 2010-11 influenza season. Fluzone High-Dose contains four times the amount of influenza antigen compared to other inactivated seasonal influenza vaccines. Studies are underway to assess the relative effectiveness of Fluzone High-Dose compared to standard dose inactivated influenza vaccine, but results from those studies will not be available before the 2010-11 influenza season. The ACIP has not expressed a preference for Fluzone High-Dose or any other licensed inactivated influenza vaccine for use in people age 65 and older.
All children 6 months through 8 years of age are recommended to receive 2 doses of 2010-11 flu vaccine unless they meet the following conditions (in which case, only 1 dose of influenza vaccine is needed):

  • at least 1 dose of 2009 H1N1 vaccine last flu season, and at least 1 dose of seasonal vaccine prior to the 2009-2010 flu season

OR

  • at least 1 dose of 2009 H1N1 vaccine last flu season, and 2 doses of seasonal flu vaccine last flu season

If possible, the first dose should be given as soon as vaccine becomes available. The second dose should be given 28 or more days after the first dose. We strongly encourage you to continue in your vaccination efforts against influenza and plan for this upcoming influenza season. Should you need further assistance, please call the NYSDOH Bureau of Immunization at 518-473-4437.
Sincerely,
Guthrie S. Birkhead, M.D., M.P.H.
Deputy Commissioner
Office of Public Health

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