Banner Health News Center  

East Morgan County Hospital hits complete compliance with flu policy


BRUSH, Colo. (Nov. 28, 2012) — In response to Banner Health’s new mandatory flu vaccine policy, 100 percent of staff members at East Morgan County Hospital answered the call.

The policy requires all employees, employed physicians, volunteers, contractors and health care students to be vaccinated or to apply for and receive an exemption, which can be given based on religious or medical reasons.

The requirement is part of Banner’s “No Flu for You” program, which aims to ensure that Banner-affiliated personnel who come in contact with patients are vaccinated.

Linda Thorpe, CEO of East Morgan County Hospital, said she was proud of the EMCH staff for stepping up to the challenge.

“Having all 147 employees at East Morgan respond and do the right thing for patient care shows how committed they are to keeping our patients safe,” Thorpe said.

The flu vaccine was provided free to all Banner Health employees, medical staff and volunteers, with vaccinations beginning in early September. All Banner Health facilities are working toward 100 percent compliance. East Morgan County Hospital and Sterling Regional MedCenter were the first of Banner’s 23 hospitals to hit the mark.

Individuals who have an approved exemption and don’t receive the vaccine will be required to wear a surgical mask wherever patients may be present during the flu season, from Dec. 1 through March 31.

The flu is a contagious disease and contributes to more than 36,000 preventable deaths annually in the United States, and vaccination is a very effective way to prevent it. According to the Centers of Disease Control, flu vaccination of health care workers has been shown to help prevent death in patients, as well as reduce the influenza infection.

Young children, people 65 years of age or older, pregnant women and people with conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease or a weakened immune system are at high risk for getting the flu, which can cause fever and pneumonia and make existing medical conditions worse.

The flu shot that’s given to all health care workers and the general public this year protects against two strains of influenza A and one strain of influenza B virus. This year, shots were started in September since flu season typically begins in October, peaking in January or February. The vaccine protects for about one year. 

Banner Health’s “No Flu for You” campaign also includes education about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, which can’t cause the flu and is 70 to 90 percent effective at preventing the three most common types of the virus each year.

Banner Health is one of the largest, nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns or manages 23 acute-care hospitals, long-term care centers and an array of other services including family clinics, home care services, a nursing registry and home medical equipment services in seven states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. 

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