Vaccination Capability Inventory of Community, Migrant, and Homeless Health Centers: A Survey Report

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Journal of Public Health Management and Practice


Context: Federally funded Community, Migrant, and Homeless Health Centers provide health services to the most vulnerable communities in the United States. However, little is known about their capabilities and processes for providing vaccinations to adults. Program: We conducted the first national survey of health centers assessing their inventory, workflow, capacity for, and barriers to provision of routinely recommended adult vaccines. In addition, we asked health center leaders' perceptions regarding best practices and policy recommendations for adult vaccinations. Implementation: A survey was developed on the basis of domains elicited from advisory panels and focus groups and was sent electronically to leaders of 762 health centers throughout the United States and its territories; data were collected and analyzed in 2018. Evaluation: A total of 319 survey responses (42%) were obtained. Health centers reported stocking most routinely recommended vaccines for adults; zoster vaccines were not stocked regularly due to supply and storage issues. Respondents most commonly reported adequate reimbursement for vaccination services from private insurance and Medicaid. Most vaccinations were provided during primary care encounters; less than half of health centers reported providing vaccines during specialist visits. Vaccines administered at the health center were most commonly documented in an open field of the electronic health record (96%) or in an immunization information system (72%). Recommendations for best practices related to better documentation of vaccinations and communication with immunization information systems were provided. Discussion: Health centers provide most adult vaccines to their patients despite financial and technological barriers to optimal provisioning. Further studies at point of care could help identify mechanisms for system improvements.

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