Immunization Awareness Month and Local Health Departments
By Nar Ramkissoon
August is National Immunization Awareness Month
It’s that time of year again. August is National Immunization Awareness Month, so let’s dig in on the importance of immunizations to our country, and the huge role local health departments play in keeping us healthy.
Immunizations may seem like a given to most, but there is a reason we need National Immunization Awareness Month. Just look at the immunization rates for four recommended vaccinations for 13-15 year olds:
Objectives IID-11.1 through IID-11.4
SOURCE: National Immunization Survey—Teen (NIS-Teen), CDC/NCIRD and CDC/NCHS.
NOTE: Data are for the proportion of adolescents aged 13–15 years who had received the recommended Tdap booster (tetanus-diptheria-acellular pertussis; 1 or more doses; objective IID-11.1), varicella vaccine (excluding children who had had varicella; at least 2 doses; objective IID-11.2), and MCV (meningococcal conjugate vaccine; 1 or more doses; objective IID-11.3), as well as the recommended HPV vaccine for females (human papillomavirus; 3 or more doses; objective IID-11.4).
I= 95% confidence interval.
We’re way behind our 2020 goals, and with new preventable diseases popping up all the time, it’s up to public health departments to ensure people are protected from new threats.
Immunizations are all about reducing preventable infectious diseases and increasing childhood survival rates.
Just to keep hammering the point home, here’s the CDC’s view on local health departments and immunizations:
“Immunizing children against infectious disease has been a central mission, and a substantial success, for our national public health systems. During the 20th century the United States has seen the incidence of measles, pertussis, and diphtheria fall by more than 98%. This is due primarily to the use of vaccines that immunize children against these illnesses. But many children are still not adequately vaccinated, and levels of disease can be lowered much further.”
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Despite the important role local health departments play in immunizations, their funding is being cut relentlessly. Over the past five years, local health funding has dropped so much that the per-capita spend has decreased from $33.71 to $28.40.
The responsibility local health departments have in providing immunizations to the public has not decreased. Local health departments still need to rise to the challenge and help meet our national immunization goals. This means the departments need to find new ways to fund immunization services, and do more with less.
The easiest way to do this is by implementing more resourceful and efficient billing practices to bump up revenue. Simple revenue cycle management practices like verifying insurance ahead of time and collecting payment at the time of service can have a profound impact on revenue collection for local health departments.
The need for immunizations isn’t going to go away, so local health departments need to enact smarter billing procedures to keep up with demand and budget cuts.
If you’re a member of a local health department, check out Upp technology’s SMART Claims system today to get a free revenue performance evaluation. Learn how to increase your local health department’s revenue by 70% in just a few short months.