Mille Lacs Health System protects patients from influenza
Mille Lacs Health System
by Mary Rains, Marketing Manager
Contact Mary (320) 532-2608
Mille Lacs Health System was among 137 hospitals and nursing homes from around the state recognized last week by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for achieving high influenza vaccination rates among the facility’s employees during the 2010-11 flu season.
More than 300 MLHS employees, representing 83 percent of staff, received influenza vaccinations during the inaugural season of the Minnesota FluSafe program. The facility received a red ribbon and certificate of achievement from Minnesota Health Commissioner Edward Ehlinger for its efforts.
The FluSafe program aims to get 100 percent of all health care personnel at hospitals and nursing homes in Minnesota, except those with medical exemptions, vaccinated against influenza each season. According to state health officials, unvaccinated health care workers can pass highly contagious influenza to their patients, many of whom are at high risk for complications from influenza.
National rates of influenza vaccination of health care workers are estimated at 63.5 percent. Minnesota’s rates are about 72 percent overall, as measured by MDH in 2009.
“The fact that our number is above the average for facilities both nationwide and in Minnesota is important to note,” said Rita Iverson, Infection Control Manager of MLHS. “This shows that our patients’ health is our first priority. Protecting them from influenza just makes sense. We also want all of our employees to be as healthy as possible during flu season.”
Under the FluSafe program, health care facilities receive guidance and access to tools and promotional materials from MDH and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help them increase their rates. The facilities record and document their vaccinations through MDH’s electronic immunization information system (MIIC).
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