U.S. Preps For Rough Flu Season

October 2019

HIDA Government Affairs Update

By Linda Rouse O'Neill
Vice President, Government Affairs

HIDA research on influenza vaccines offers information on patient and physician vaccination trends.

The flu season in the United States last season ran a little longer than normal, but overall the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classified it as “moderate,” according to the latest data out from the government’s flu tracking experts.

The Health Industry Distributor Association’s new 2019 Influenza Vaccine Production & Distribution Market Brief provides insights into the flu products supply chain and key information regarding the influenza vaccine, including vaccine makeup, effectiveness, and reimbursement costs. The report also provides resources to help distributors prepare for the upcoming 2019-2020 flu season.

The U.S. has been keeping a close eye on Australia, which in 2019 experienced one of its worst flu seasons since it began tracking flu data. A recent report by World Health Organization Influenza Center said the number of cases were about “five times what we’d normally see in that inter-seasonal period.” Australia is often a harbinger of what to expect in an upcoming flu season in the U.S.

The 2018-2019 influenza season in the U.S. occurred from October 1, 2018, to May 4, 2019, and the CDC estimates that influenza virus infection caused up to 43 million symptomatic illnesses; a bit more than 20 million medical visits; up to 647,000 hospitalizations; and as many as 61,200 deaths in the U.S.

2019 HIDA Influenza Vaccine Production & Distribution report provides key information on:

  • Flu vaccine production, supply, and allocation
  • Patient and physician vaccination trends
  • Managing influenza with diagnostic resources
  • Manufacturing and distribution processes
  • Medicare reimbursement quality reporting measures
  • Vaccine effectiveness trends
Meaningful Measures

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has made efforts to streamline reporting requirements under its Meaningful Measures program, with a number of flu-related measures removed or will be removed in the future.

Influenza immunization has been included as a measure for several providers’ quality reporting programs per the annual Medicare reimbursement regulation from CMS. CMS finalizes measures for providers to receive their full annual Medicare payment update. If providers fail to report on these measures, they will receive a cut in their Medicare payment.

As part of their quality reporting requirements, some types of providers are required to report on the percentage of their patients who were assessed and appropriately given the seasonal influenza vaccine. CMS is also requiring a number of quality reporting programs to send healthcare personnel vaccination rates to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network. Immunization of both patients and staff continues to be a trend in the CMS Quality Reporting Program.

From http://www.repertoiremag.com/u-s-preps-for-rough-flu-season.html