What Every Hospital Employee Will Need to Do in 2013

If you haven’t had enough of influenza-related news over the last few weeks, for those of you working in the acute care hospital setting, there is more to come.

Beginning the 2012-13 influenza season, the CDCs, National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), is requiring all employees, students/volunteers, licensed independent providers, and contractors to answer questions  about their influenza vaccination status. There have been recent news reports of various hospital employees being terminated for refusing influenza vaccine.  While the new NHSN requirement does not mandate the vaccination, it does require hospitals to report their staffs vaccination rates.

Among the criteria that will be asked is as follows:

  • Did the Health Care Worker (HCW) physically work in the building where care is rendered for 30 days or more from the period of October 1, 2012 – March 31, 2013?
    • HCWs refer to all hospital personnel.  
    • If one merely walked through the area where patients are, they would be need to be surveyed. This is regardless of one’s job description, responsibility, or patient contact.
  • Did the HCW receive the 2012-13 Influenza Vaccine?
  • If yes, was the vaccine received on-site at the facility or at another location?
  • When was the vaccine received?
  • Does the HCW have a medical contraindication to the influenza vaccine?
    • For consistency across healthcare facilities, contraindications only include a severe allergy to eggs or a component in the vaccination or history of Guillian-Barré Syndrome within 6 weeks following a previous influenza vaccination.   
    • All other contraindications will be classified as declined to receive the influenza vaccine.
  • Everyone else who did not answer will be considered unknown status. 
  • The data will not be at the individual level but will be reported at the institutional level.
  • The data must be reported by May 15, 2013.

As you can imagine, many hospitals are scrambling now to get everything in order to comply with the new reporting requirements. The task gets very difficult when tracking not just the employees of the hospital, but the expectation is for students/volunteers, and licensed independent providers (i.e. attending physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, etc) to be counted as well. One can imagine the challenges that larger institutions will face given this criteria. Also, if healthcare workers are employed by different institutions, they have to be counted at each institution.

The employee influenza vaccination data will not be made public this year but it widely expected that it will be for the 2013-2014 influenza season. The public will have access to the data and may decide to choose one hospital over the other based on their staff’s vaccination rates. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to eventually see reimbursement rates affected based on the immunization data.

Therefore, those working in hospital settings (or even those walking through them for 30 days or more from October 1st – March 31) can expect to be asked questions on their influenza vaccination status in the foreseeable future. And with that, we can also anticipate increased scrutiny on health care worker immunization rates.

For more information on this topic, be sure to check out the CDCs Influenza Vaccine Summary Protocol.


I’m Dr. Stephen Ferrara, a practicing Nurse Practitioner with over 10 years of clinical experience. I’m a senior clinical associate at a large urban hospital system in the Bronx, NY and I’ve owned and operated the largest Nurse Practitioner retail based clinic operation in New York State. I have experience in college, correctional and men’s health.

I have my Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Nursing as well as my Master’s degree, and recently I attained the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree! I’m active within my state’s nurse practitioner association and have lectured at numerous conferences.

In addition to blogging here at OnlineNursePractitionerPrograms.com, for the past 3 years I’ve authored A Nurse Practitioner’s View. I have a passion for health care technology and integrating evidence-based practice into daily practice.Thanks for stopping by! I hope you find the information on this blog useful for your educational and career endeavors into the field of nursing.