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NPR: Docs Losing Money on Vaccines

During this time of economic instability, access to good health care and insurance is not a given. This week NPR reported that in fact, a lot of doctors are beginning to lose money on routine health appointments, like vaccinations.

Athenahealth is a medical billing company that reported many doctors who do administer vaccinations lose money on them. A whopping 47 percent of immunizations are money-losers, according to this company.

Pediatricians have started to fight this issue because their practices are the framework for public health and the nation’s childhood immunization programs. They need to receive proper payments in order to even offer vaccination services. If there is absolutely no benefit for them, why would they take up appointment time to vaccinate? – Is the question plaguing pediatricians.

Many private insurance companies only cover selected vaccines or set a cap on the amount they pay for vaccinations or simply don’t cover them at all.

Luckily, The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program is available. They offer vaccines at no cost for eligible children through doctors enrolled in the Program. Vaccinating your child fulfills school requirements but also means healthier children, families and overall communities.

Children that qualify must either be eligible for Medicaid, uninsured, underinsured or an American-Indian or Alaska native. If your child meets one of the listed requirements, the vaccine(s) must be provided completely free of charge. Sometimes there is a low administration fee for the immunization provider to cover the costs, similar to a co-pay.

Most pediatricians are enrolled VFC providers as well as many family practices. Check with the VFC Program Web page above as to whether your state schools are enrolled. There are nearly 45,000 enrolled in the Program in the US.

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Speaking of Marriage

Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT

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