SMH Recognized for Employee Influenza Immunization Rates
On Thursday, November 22, representatives from the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) presented Stephens Memorial Hospital (SMH) a certificate for vaccinating more than 85 percent of its employees against influenza last flu season. Just 15 of 40 Maine hospitals achieved this award. The SMH rate of flu vaccination for employees was 91 percent for the 2011-2012 flu season. The average rate for Maine hospitals was 77.1 percent according to the Maine CDC.
Heidi Mallis, Maine CDC epidemiologist, read a prepared statement from Dr. Stephen Sears, state epidemiologist that stated, “Health care personnel are the first line of defense in diagnosing, treating, and preventing the spread of influenza. Maine CDC supports all efforts to ensure that health care personnel are kept safe and healthy, so they can do their important jobs. Vaccination of all health care workers protects vulnerable patients against influenza and is an important component of a patient safety program.”
Sharon Buffington SMH Employee Health Program Manager shares, “Our employees are invested in the communities’ health and our main focus is to keep our patients and employees healthy. We began vaccinating for the 2012-2013 flu season in September and we are hopeful to surpass our last year’s rates.”
Photo (Left to Right): Heidi Mallis, Maine CDC Field Epidemiologist; Shelly Shibles, SMH Vice President Quality and Safety; Sharon Buffington, SMH Employee Health Program Manager and Jamie Paul, Maine CDC Western Maine Public Health Liaison.