Starting this winter, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) will require accredited facilities to provide influenza vaccinations to their staff, including volunteers and licensed independent practitioners with close patient contact. The requirement will become an accreditation requirement on January 1, 2007.
The new standard is based on recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has called for stronger measures to reduce flu transmission by health care providers. Although the CDC has long urged health care workers to get the annual flu vaccine, less than 40% do so in a typical year.
Among provisions specified by the JCAHO, accredited facilities must establish an annual vaccine program, provide on-site access to vaccination, and educate staff and independent practitioners about flu vaccination and other appropriate precautions to decrease disease transmission.
For more information, visit the JCAHO Web site at http://www.jointcommission.org.