Center for Sustainable Health Care Quality and Equity (SHC) Urges Action to Address Disparities in Flu Prevention, Help Reduce Potential for Increased Hospitalizations

Center for Sustainable Health Care Quality and Equity (SHC) Urges Action to Address Disparities in Flu Prevention, Help Reduce Potential for Increased Hospitalizations

WASHINGTON – The Center for Sustainable Health Care Quality and Equity (SHC), a division of the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF), is emphasizing the need for health systems and providers to reevaluate their flu vaccination efforts directed at their underserved patient populations in anticipation of a potentially dangerous flu season that could be complicated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other circulating respiratory viruses.

Flu vaccine rates are lower among Black and Hispanic Americans, versus the overall population, and despite the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, people of color are more likely to be hospitalized with flu at considerable and preventable cost to both patients and health systems. Additionally, people of color who have higher rates of chronic disease are more vulnerable to flu and COVID-19, with increased morbidity and mortality. This is particularly seen among patients with diabetes, heart and/or lung disease – all medical conditions that negatively impact communities of color at higher rates.

“The combination of rising coronavirus cases and unknowns about the impact of the upcoming flu season places a significant burden on health systems that are already stretched thin,” said Dr. Gary A. Puckrein, Ph.D., president and CEO of NMQF. “Ensuring strong flu vaccination coverage among underserved, at-risk communities can help alleviate that burden by reducing further health complications and hospitalizations.”

SHC’s Driving Real Improvement in Value and Equity (DRIVE) Toolkit provides tools and strategies to help primary care teams, health care systems, and community organizations improve health outcomes and vaccination rates as well as enhance quality performance. The proof-of-concept model addressing growing racial and ethnic disparities in flu vaccination rates was shown to improve coverage by 20% – 40% at key practice sites during the 2019-2020 flu season.

“Participating in the DRIVE program not only helped us reach our target numbers by more than 90% – but it also better armed us with effective vaccination strategies in the face of COVID-19,” said Saria Carter Saccocio, MD, FAAFP, MHA, President, Proactive MD.

“The DRIVE program helps health systems, FQHCs, and other practices communicate more effectively with patients and the community as well as enact practice changes proven to enhance vaccination rates” said Laura Lee Hall, Ph.D., president of SHC. “The online, easy-to-use resources are available for free, along with additional opportunities for supplemental training and support.”

About the National Minority Quality Forum
The National Minority Quality Forum assists health care providers, professionals, administrators, researchers, policymakers, and community and faith-based organizations in delivering appropriate health care to minority communities. This assistance is based on providing the evidence in the form of science, research, and analysis that will lead to the effective organization and management of system resources to improve the quality and safety of health care for the entire population of the U.S., including minorities. For more information, please visit www.nmqf.org.

About The Center for Sustainable Health Care Quality and Equity
The Center for Sustainable Health Care Quality and Equity, a division of the National Minority Quality Forum, promotes sustainable healthy communities, especially those with diverse and underserved populations, through the provision of actionable data, research, and engagement/training of clinicians and community leaders.

Media Contact
Kristen Hobbs khobbs@nmqf.org

Related Links

http://www.nmqf.org
http://shcdrive.org/tools-and-resources-flu-vaccination/

Source: PR Newswire

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