Despite the efficacy of influenza vaccination in preventing complications of influenza, rates of immunization among high-risk populations remain low. The Monroe County (New York) Influenza Vaccination Demonstration was a communitywide, collaborative effort to increase the rates of influenza immunization to greater than 60% in elderly Medicare recipients.
The local health department, university medical center, and practicing physicians collaborated to develop a communitywide demonstration directed to all Medicare part B enrollees 65 years of age or older; multiple coordinated approaches were used over a 4-year period (1988 to 1992). Most providers, including public agencies, private providers, hospital outpatient facilities, nursing homes, and insurance providers, were enrolled in a comprehensive program that included centralized claims processing, vaccine distribution and promotion, and extensive provider and public education efforts, including a special urban outreach program. An office-based, denominator-driven physician incentive project was also evaluated.
The demonstration project resulted in a 1991 influenza immunization rate of 74.3% among 88 811 Medicare enrollees 65 years of age or older. The increase in immunization rate occurred primarily among the patients of private physicians.
A communitywide, collaborative approach can succeed in achieving high rates of influenza immunization.(Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:1741-1745)