Vaccine Storage Is A Key To Effective PreventionThe CDC and state VFC programs reiterated their recommendations to healthcare providers on best practices in storing and handling vaccines.
(San Bernardino, CA) Each year millions of dollars are lost in the United States because healthcare providers improperly store and handle vaccines meant to protect against childhood diseases such as measles and chicken pox.
LaSalle Medical Associates, Inc. wants to assure parents, and the community, it follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Vaccine for Children programs’ vaccine guidelines.
“This is something we take very seriously. Our vaccine handling and storage techniques are audited annually by either the CHDP or VFC,’’ says Barbara Graber, manager of compliance and special projects at LaSalle. “We’ve taken every step necessary to insure vaccines are received, handled and stored properly so as not to compromise their efficiency as well as protect the children we serve.”
Just last June and July, VFC and CHDP representatives audited LaSalle’s vaccine storage and handling practices, Graber says. And, two years ago LaSalle purchased, and placed, Pharmaceutical-grade refrigerators in each of its four clinics. Those refrigerators are exclusively for vaccine storage and, the temperatures in each refrigerator are monitored twice daily and logged, Graber says.
“According to regulations we keep these logs for three years and also have protocols in place in the event of an emergency or power outage,’’ Graber says.
Recently, the CDC and state VFC programs reiterated their recommendations to healthcare providers on best practices in handling vaccines. Both recommend instituting vaccine plans. This plan should include routine vaccine management – from ordering and controlling inventory to storing and monitoring storage conditions, according to the CDC.
It is also recommended the plan include protocols for emergency vaccine retrieval and storage in the event of a refrigerator or freezer malfunction, power failures, or other emergencies which might compromise vaccine storage conditions.
To minimize loss, the CDC recommends storage and handling plans to include:
- Up to date contact information.
- Descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of primary and back up vaccine coordinators.
- Summaries of storage requirements for each vaccine in inventory.
- Protocols for vaccine storage unit temperature monitoring, storage equipment maintenance, placement of vaccine within storage units, responding to vaccine storage and handling problems, transporting and receiving vaccine shipments, and proper disposal of vaccines and supplies.
The CDC also recommends healthcare providers store vaccines in refrigerators without freezers. However, a combination refrigerator/freezer unit sold for home use can be used for vaccine storage if the refrigerator and freezer compartments each have separate external doors. Refrigerators must have a calibrated thermometer in place, and checked twice daily for temperature compliance.
Graber says LaSalle has, and will continue to, meet all of the CDC vaccine recommendations. In addition, LaSalle has its own internal policies and procedures which coincide with federal and state recommendations, she says.
“This is both a healthcare and fiscal issue,’’ says LaSalle Executive Vice President Carl Maier. “We are diligent in protecting the patients we serve as well as mindful of costs, which is a reason we allocated the time and funding purchasing high quality refrigeration equipment.”
For more information call LaSalle Medical Associates, Incorporated at (909) 890-0407.
About LaSalle Medical Associates, Inc.
LaSalle Medical Associates, Inc., is an Independent Practice Association (IPA) of independently contracted doctors, hospitals and clinics, delivering high quality patient care to more than 190,000 patient visits in Riverside, San Bernardino, Stanislaus, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, San Joaquin, Los Angeles and Madera Counties.
LaSalle’s IPA members in the Central Valley include: the Community Medical Centers. Hospital affiliations include: Lodi Memorial Hospital, Lodi Memorial Hospital-Vine Clinic, Lodi Memorial Hospital-Trinity Clinic and Lodi Memorial Hospital-Millsbridge Clinic.
In Central California, LaSalle’s patients are primarily served by Medi-Cal, Medicare and Healthy Families providers. LaSalle also accepts Blue Shield .
LaSalle’s IPA members in the Inland Empire include: LaSalle Medical Associates, Banning Medical Group and San Bernardino Urological Associates. Hospital affiliations include: Rancho Springs Medical Center, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Community Hospital of San Bernardino, St. Bernadine Medical Center, Mountains Community Hospital, Redlands Community Hospital, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Corona Regional Medical Center, Riverside County Medical Center, and Parkview Community Hospital.
LaSalle Medical Associates is one of the largest independent minority owned healthcare companies in California.
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