Submitted on Tue, 2013-08-20
By SMART Health Claims

It's back-to-school season, and that means local health departments have the opportunity to immunize thousands of students while securing future funding through billing. 

back to school immunizations
States are pushing more and more to require immunizations for students prior to the school year beginning, with a number of new states enacting legislation within the past year. In fact, nearly every state in the country has laws now has laws on their books requiring immunizations before school starts. Forbidding students from attending classes without immunizations adds a whole new level of demand for local health departments. 
 
The demand is causing a wonderful win/win opportunity for all involved. The local health departments receive more revenue in the face of budget cuts, and the country is made safer through immunizations. Let’s take a look at what local health departments just like yours are doing to take full advantage of the opportunity back-to-school season brings around.
 
In Alabama, the Madison County Health Department is operating special clinics to make sure students have updated immunization records before school starts. Alabama law requires chicken pox and TDaP vaccines for its students, and a “blue card” with immunization records on it in order to enter classes. The special clinics will help speed up the long lines typically associated with the last-minute rush to get immunizations.
 
In Nevada, special TDaP clinics are being held for seventh grade students on Saturdays. Nevada law now requires seventh graders to have their TDaP booster before the start of school.
 
In Illinois, new TDaP laws have also led to increased demand for local health departments. Only 100 students used the DeKalb County local health clinics for the immunization last year, so they’ve been spreading the word to parents to get appointments early in the summer to beat the rush.
 
In Oregon, Marion County has released a list compiled by health departments and schools on ways to increase immunization rates. Some of their ideas include:
 
  • Holding a community health fair in the Summer to provide immunizations
  • Provide alerts based on the clinic’s database of patients
  • Promoting immunizations at Kindergarten registration
  • Holding special immunization clinics directly at the schools
  • Holding contests for employees that receive flu shots and giving children who receive shots a prize like a sticker
  • Giving parents a vaccination schedule
That last point is key. Parents need to be made aware of the full immunization schedule to ensure their kids are eligible students. The CDC has a great resource for local health departments looking for calendar printouts.
 
 
childhood immunization schedule
 

 

Back-to-school season is a time local health departments should thrive. The added demand and stress may be tough, but most of the new patients will be fully insured. That means services can be billed to private insurance companies to bring in more revenue.

No entity has greater power to spread awareness about and to provide immunization services within a community than local health departments. With more and more states requiring immunizations before entering a classroom, it’s more important than ever that these departments have a plan to handle the increased demand. Having an actionable plan in place will help produce more revenue to help maintain programs and employees that would otherwise be cut due to budgetary constraints.

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