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American College of Physicians awarded three-year federal grant to increase adult immunization rates

Immunization rates in the United States continue to fall well below federal goals

PHILADELPHIA, August 22, 2012 -- The American College of Physicians (ACP) was awarded an initial $175,000 grant for 2012-13 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create a three-year, evidence-based program to increase adult immunization rates in five states.

“Earning this competitive award will help ACP’s internal medicine physician members and their practice teams increase adult immunization rates among their patients,” said David L. Bronson, MD, FACP, president, ACP. “Providing recommended vaccinations is a core component of preventive health care, leading to improved public health, less suffering, fewer deaths, and lower health care costs.”

Working with ACP state chapters in Arizona, Delaware, Northern Illinois, Maryland, and New York, the program will assist up to 100 internal medicine practices in implementing strategies for improving adult immunization rates toward the federal government’s goals for 2020, including seasonal influenza immunization rates of 80 to 90 percent of adults, depending on risk factors. The current immunization rates for influenza for adults aged 18 and older are 39.5 percent in Arizona, 44.9 percent in Delaware, 36.4 percent in Illinois, 46.9 percent in Maryland, and 41.4 percent in New York.

“This program builds on prior ACP initiatives designed to improve health through encouraging appropriate immunization of adults,” said Michael S. Barr, MD, FACP, MBA, who leads ACP’s Medical Practice, Professionalism & Quality division. “We hope to increase adult immunization rates at participating practices by at least 15 percent. With an estimated 750 to 1,000 physicians participating in the program, we expect to have a total patient pool of 1.5 to 2 million.”

ACP’s strategies through the three-year program to increase adult immunization rates include physician and clinical team education, practice assessment and performance feedback, increasing provider recommendation of immunization to patients, and implementation of standing order protocols from an attending physician.

Existing ACP resources will be incorporated into the program, including the ACP Adult Immunization Portal, the ACP Guide to Adult Immunization, the ACP Immunization Advisor mobile app, and the ACP Medical Home Builder® adult immunization module. Practices in each state will be invited to participate in an educational program and receive onsite support for implementing strategies shown to be effective. The overall program will be guided by an expert advisory panel and leaders from participating states.

“Partnering with ACP state chapters is one of the most exciting aspects of this initiative, permitting us to better support our members at the local and practice level,” said Dr. Bronson.

The program will begin in September with the identification and development of materials for physician education and practice assessment and improvement.

ACP plans to sustain adult immunization gains and expand the program among additional practices through the sharing of results, adoption of practice improvements, peer-to-peer support, and resources created by ACP and the CDC.

About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 133,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illness in adults. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.

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