Reimbursement Issues Hinder Combination Vaccine Uptake

Practice size, patient insurance status play a role for pediatricians too

MONDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Inadequate reimbursement for combination vaccines prevents more than 20 percent of pediatricians from using them, with practice size and proportion of children whose vaccinations are paid for with public funds also influencing use of combination vaccines, according to research published in the December issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Courtney A. Gidengil, M.D., M.P.H., of the Children's Hospital Boston, and colleagues evaluated the responses of 629 pediatric practitioners to a national survey on combination vaccines to determine the prevalence of combination vaccine use and describe factors that determine adoption of combination vaccines.

The researchers found that 492 (78 percent) reported using one or both of two infant combination vaccines, though more than half reported not receiving adequate reimbursement for purchasing and administering vaccines in general. Many said that they did not use one or more of the combination vaccines because of inadequate reimbursement for the cost of vaccine doses (23 percent) and/or vaccine administration (20 percent). The combination vaccines were also used less often among smaller practices, those with fewer publicly insured patients, and those in states with less-inclusive vaccine financing policies.

"Inadequate reimbursement for the administration and purchase of vaccines is a barrier to the use of combination vaccines for some pediatric practices. However, these barriers may be attenuated by providing vaccines free of charge through state and federal programs. Reducing the remaining financial barriers to combination vaccine use by pediatric practices will most likely require collaboration between physician groups and health insurers," the authors conclude.

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