January 17, 2012 Minutes

Coalitions Conference Call

Innovative Projects to Improve Reimbursement in Public Health Department Clinics and Shot@Life Campaign

Agenda Item 1: IZCoalition Network Project
Featured Speaker: Teresa Anderson, DDS, MPH (Consultant, IAC)

For more than a year, IAC has undertaken the task of building a national network of immunization coalitions. We tried to identify all active immunizations coalitions by emailing their leadership up to 3 times. We then sent a list of possible coalitions to every state health department’s immunization manager for corrections, contact info, and additions.
IAC has now confirmed the existence of 218 coalitions.
The goal of this project is to help immunization coalitions connect with each other and share ideas and resources. As a means to this end, we have developed three communication pathways.
1) We have developed an emailing list of 530+ individuals to whom we can send emails about topics of interest. This list includes identified coalition leaders and members, as well as representatives from nonprofit organizations, professional organizations, and industry who are interested in working with coalitions. Besides notifying people about conference calls, we also use this mailing list to send out announcements of interest and minutes of the calls. This month we started using Mail Chimp for these mailings.
2) The second communication pathway is a private listserv discussion group for coalition leaders dedicated to discussing immunization coalition issues. Currently, there are 198 members on the listserv (representing 125 coalitions) who can pose questions of each other, share resources, announce educational opportunities, or encourage other members to provide feedback on some national issue.
3) In December, we started updating our www.izcoalitions.org website. This site was launched in 2001 and contained information about local, state and regional immunization coalitions. The coalitions were asked to maintain the information about their coalitions themselves. The site grew quite out of date over the past 10 years so IAC decided to update the information itself. We have written to all 180 coalitions that were listed on the website, asking leaders to provide new or updated information; deleted non-active coalitions; and asked active coalitions not already on the website to join. We have had a great response, with 80% of the currently listed coalitions updating their information and another 29 agreeing to be added.
Take-away message: If you are not on our mailing list, and/or if you'd like to join the listserv discussion group, please email Teresa Anderson at IAC.
For the future: We will continue to offer educational opportunities to coalition partners, such as conference calls with national experts every 6-8 weeks.
IAC plans to distribute a survey to every immunization coalition. For more on this, we heard from Sharon Humiston, MD, MPH (Associate Director for Research, IAC).
IAC is finalizing a survey to send electronically to one specified leader at each identified immunization coalition (hopefully in February). Sharon urged coalition leaders to supply as much information as possible when they get the survey, the better for IAC to be able to know and meet their needs. Leaders of each coalition will get a unique link for the survey, which will enable the person filling out the survey to work on it whenever convenient (and not have to complete it all in one sitting). Sharon also pointed out that on the survey, IAC will clearly indicate which answers will be considered public information, which will be used in summary descriptions only, and which information will be for IAC only to view.

Agenda Item 2: Innovative Projects to Improve Reimbursement in Public Health Department Clinics
Featured Speaker: Captain Duane Kilgus, RS, MPH (Education Information and Partnership Branch, Immunization Services Division, NCIRD, CDC)

Please see the accompanying slide deck for more detail on all these points.
Duane started out his presentation by pointing out that public health departments have traditionally provided free vaccines, whether or not a patient has private insurance or any other way to pay. Health departments can no longer continue to provide all services without charge and need to start looking into the concept of billing private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid.
The presentation provided information about 14 grantees that were funded in 2009 through ARRA-317 Innovative Projects to Improve Reimbursement in Public Health Department Clinics. Some interesting findings: 

  • Approximately 50% of health department clinics in the funded states had never billed Medicaid for vaccine service administration fees.
  • As many as 45% to 55% of patients seeking vaccine services in some health departments are privately insured.
  • More than half of the 14 original ARRA grantees have successfully piloted a billing program and successfully processed some bills for reimbursement.

For the full presentation, go to the slides from Duane's presentation titled Innovative Projects to Improve Reimbursement in Public Health Department Clinics.
Duane welcomes your questions: CAPT. Duane Kilgus

Agenda Item 3: Presentation on Every Child By Two’s Partnership with the Shot@Life Campaign and How Partners Can Engage on the Issue
Featured Speaker: Amy Pisani (Executive Director, ECBT)

Please see the accompanying slide deck for more detail on all these points.
Amy gave a bit of background about how about a decade ago, Every Child By Two (ECBT) worked internationally in Africa as part of a polio eradication effort. After that, ECBT went back to concentrating on domestic immunization issues, especially in light of the growing problem with vaccine hesitancy in the United States. Now, ECBT will be moving back into an international role as a partner in the Shot@Life program. Other partners are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, the GAVI Alliance, American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Red Cross, Lions Clubs International and ABC News’ Million Moms initiative.
Shot@Life educates, connects, and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries by supporting the work of partners who are already saving lives and improving the health of millions of children around the world every day.
ECBT believes cooperating with Shot@Life will produce synergistic energy. First, Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Betty Bumpers will use their voices to help prevent vaccine-preventable diseases around the world (e.g, working with African First Ladies). Second, parents in the U.S. may better appreciate the life-saving value of vaccines by learning about what is going on in the developing world.
Access Amy's slides here.
Contact Amy at ECBT for more information.
You can add your voice and show your support by submitting your email address on the Shot@Life website.

Agenda Item 4: Reminder about the National Immunization and Health Coalitions Conference on May 23-25 in New Orleans
For more information, go to the conference website.


Agenda Item 5: Announcements from Partners
1. The Immunization Partnership announced that the 4th annual Texas immunization conference will take place in September in Austin.

2. Deborah Wexler, IAC, recommended a 4-minute compelling video titled "Facing Meningitis" produced by the Texas Children's Hospital. View the video on YouTube.
3. Vicki Evans, CDC, told partners about a new award for childhood immunization champions. The CDC Childhood Immunization Champion Award is an award that recognizes individuals who make a significant contribution toward improving public health through their work in childhood immunization. For more information, and the nomination packet, go to the Immunization Champion web section. If you have questions, email imzchamps@cdc.gov.
4. Vicki Evans also talked about new CDC provider resources for working with vaccine-hesitant parents. Research indicated that:

  • Healthcare professionals (HCP) were seeking information to pass on to parents about immunizing their children
  • Parents did not know much about vaccine-preventable diseases and some questioned vaccine safety and efficacy
  • Parents’ most trusted source of vaccine information is their child’s physician or nurse

NCIRD developed resources to meet these needs and support HCP-parent conversations. These pieces are co-branded with AAP and AAFP.
The following topics are available under Understanding Vaccines and Vaccine Safety on CDC's website.

  • Understanding How Vaccines Work
  • The U.S. Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule
  • Ensuring the Safety of U.S. Vaccines
  • Understanding the Vaccine Adverse Reaction Reporting System (VAERS)
  • Understanding MMR Vaccine Safety
  • Understanding Thimerosal, Mercury, and Vaccine Safety
  • Understanding the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)

In addition, CDC has developed 14 fact sheets about vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD) to its website. The fact sheets briefly describe symptoms of each VPD as well as benefits and risks of vaccination. Several include true stories about how VPDs have affected families. Fact sheets are available on the following: chickenpox (varicella), diphtheria, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, Hib, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, pneumococcal disease, polio, rotavirus, rubella, and tetanus.
The fact sheets are available for printing in color and in black and white. To access them, go here.
All these resources can be accessed from CDC's Vaccine Conversations web section.
Vicki will also mail out a print sample packet–just email her!
Finally, don't forget that National Infant Immunization Week will be celebrated April 21-28.

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