Summary: The goal of this bill is to advance patient safety by requiring influenza vaccination coverage for all healthcare workers. Pursuant to its broad public health authority and the goal of ensuring a safe and healthy workforce, the Department of Public Health recently implemented regulations that require hospitals and certain other healthcare providers to provide annual influenza vaccinations to its workforce, with DPH monitoring and publishing hospital vaccination rates. However, there is no specific requirement for healthcare workers to be vaccinated. The federal Centers for Disease and Control has promoted the strong benefits of achieving 100% influenza vaccination rates to ensure optimal protection for patients and staff while also reducing the burden of disease and related health care costs. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services now requires acute care hospitals to report influenza vaccination levels of its workforce as part of the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program. With both national and state public health authorities strongly supporting the benefits of influenza vaccination, this bill would level the playing field by requiring all workers (employed or otherwise by a health care provider) to be vaccinated against influenza.
Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the Department of Public Health shall promulgate regulations to require the mandatory influenza vaccination requirements on all direct, contracted, and volunteer staff who are employed or providing assistance to a health care provider, as defined under Section 1 of Chapter 111 of the General Laws.
The Department shall implement the regulations within 90 days of the effective date of the law and shall further require health care providers to implement an annual vaccination date for its health care workforce no later than October 1, 2013 and annually thereafter.
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