by Mary Rains
Mille Lacs Health System
Mille Lacs Health System and Mille Lacs Health System’s Long Term Care Facility both received the “blue ribbon award” for their efforts to vaccinate employees against influenza last year. The Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) FluSafe program celebrated its seventh year with 93 percent of participating hospitals and nursing homes receiving a blue, red or white ribbon - blue being the best - showing that 90-100% of staff were vaccinated.
For the 2016-17 measuring period,148 facilities participated in the program. Of the 138 facilities that earned ribbons, 66 reached vaccination levels of 90 percent or greater, earning blue ribbons; 41 were in the 80-89 percent range, earning red ribbons; and 31 reached 70-79 percent, earning white ribbons.
Every year, hospitals and nursing homes in Minnesota work hard to prevent the spread of flu in their facilities by encouraging vaccination of employees who work in healthcare. The idea is to protect patients as well as employees. Mille Lacs Health System offers flu shots free of charge to employees, and makes sure all have the opportunity to get them, through facility-wide communi-cations and easy access. To protect patients, residents, and other employees, staff that do not re-ceive the vaccine are required to wear a mask during influenza season.
“We are here to practice medicine,” said Dr. Ranjita Adhikari, Infection Prevention Medical Di-rector at MLHS. “Employees who get their flu shot are practicing medicine and following rec-ommendations by making sure that we are committed to our most important goals - our patients’ health, and high quality care.”