BOO! What’s scarier than getting a flu shot?

BOO! What’s scarier than getting a flu shot?

GIVING 145 flu shots to 114 patients in less than three hours. That’s right, after last week’s successful flu clinic experience, Kressly Pediatrics doubled down and scheduled patients at a rate of 42 per hour. We still ran ahead.

It being Halloween, the staff was in a good mood. (That’s Sue in the middle, with nurses Colleen and Sija.) There had been a few anxious moments during the week, because we were running out of needles and syringes. Did you know there’s a nationwide shortage? Apparently distributors were forced to give much of their stockpiles to the Federal government, which is having trouble coordinating distribution to sites like ours that got multi-dose vials. In the meantime, we had dipped into our own office stockpile, which was exhausted by last weekend’s clinic. Imagine Jane’s relief when UPS delivered that box on Thursday. In the nick of time, everything was carefully prepped — insurance confirmed, doses drawn the night before, bandaids at the ready:

Even the patients came prepared, presumably because this was the scariest activity on their personal calendars today:

We followed the same workflow as last week, with Sue doing the front end medical work, me acting as her scribe, and the nurses alternating on shot duty. The last vaccine was given at 11:15, claims were sent at 11:24, and Frank Caniglia at the PA SIIS in Harrisburg confirmed receipt of the whole group shortly thereafter.

We have started receiving EOBs for administration of the vaccines given last Saturday. A few payers are covering the full $22.64 that Medicare says this service is worth in our area, but many are paying less than half of that amount. So anyone who thinks this is just a big scam for doctors to make more money should reconsider. Given the total work I have documented that goes into providing and accounting for a single vaccination, I hope it rings loud and clear that this valuable public health service is a labor of love and necessity for pediatricians, not a way to get rich. Without an EMR, it has all the makings of a financial disaster, which is why some pediatric practices have elected not to participate in distributing this vaccine.

I hate to say this is becoming old hat — and I’m certainly not looking for another job — but it was one of those awesome experiences where you get in a zone and everyone is in sync and three hours just fly by. You look up, everyone is gone, and you feel the satisfaction of a good job well done. Kudos to everyone who made this happen.

Late update: the Bucks County Courier Times sent a reporter and photographer to watch all the action. These appeared on the front page of the Sunday edition. Some great quotes from parents and a nice recap of the overall distribution issues that are facing everyone.