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Providers Report Inadequate Vaccination Reimbursement

Pediatricians and family physicians report dissatisfaction with current reimbursement for childhood vaccinations

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Providers report inadequate reimbursement for vaccine purchase or administration, and many are experiencing increased financial burden resulting from giving immunizations, according to the results of a survey published in the December issue of Pediatrics.

Gary L. Freed, M.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues performed a random survey of 1,280 pediatricians and family physicians participating in direct patient care. A majority of respondents were directly involved in decision-making for their practice. The survey was conducted between July and September 2007.

Nearly half (49 percent) of the survey respondents reported that their clinical practice had delayed purchasing some vaccines (most commonly the human papillomavirus and meningococcal conjugate vaccines) due to financial constraints, and 53 percent of practices had experienced a decreased profit margin due to immunizations. Of the respondents, 21 percent and 17 percent strongly disagreed that adequate reimbursement was given for vaccine purchase and vaccine administration, respectively. The report indicates that 11 percent of the respondents had seriously considered not providing vaccines to privately insured children in the previous year.

"Although large-scale withdrawal of immunization providers does not seem to be imminent, efforts to address the root causes of these financial pressures, particularly for family physicians, should be undertaken," the authors conclude.

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