Initiative raises awareness of recommendations

A multi-pronged approach to improving immunization rates has earned recognition for Independence Blue Cross from the Pennsylvania Immunization Coalition (PAIC).

The Philadelphia-based health plan was honored with the PAIC Immunization Champion Award for its collaborative work with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to reduce the rising instance of pertussis.

The health plan has promoted immunizations for many years, updates the recommendations each year, and provides coverage for recommended immunizations across all managed lines of business, says Esther J. Nash, MD, senior medical director of population health and wellness at Independence Blue Cross. "In recent years, there have been changes in the recommendations as well as new recommended vaccines that mean more visits to health care providers. The key issue is to assist the patients and doctors in keeping up with the increasing number and changing recommendations for vaccinations," she says.

Most recently, the health plan has partnered with the Philadelphia Department of Health to create awareness of the expanded recommendations for administering the Tdap vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis). The health plan's educational efforts focused on pregnant women, adolescents and their parents, and health care providers. The health plan informed all three groups about new recommendations for the Tdap immunization. The health plan sent updates to providers through its Clinical Update magazine and alerted them to the national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations for expanding the use of the Tdap vaccine.