Most Family Doctors Provide Routine Vaccinations

Obstacles include small practice size and lack of adequate payment

THURSDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Most family physicians provide routine vaccinations as a part of their general services, but many refer patients to other locations for certain vaccines, often due to lack of adequate reimbursement, according to research published in the November/December issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Doug Campos-Outcalt, M.D., of the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix, and colleagues analyzed survey answers from members of the American Academy of Family Physicians to document family physicians' current immunization practices.

The researchers found that 80 percent or more reported providing most routinely recommended vaccinations for children, adolescents, and adults at their practice sites; exceptions included herpes zoster vaccine for adults and rotavirus vaccine for children. About half, however, reported referring patients elsewhere for certain vaccines, largely due to reimbursement issues. Solo and two-physician practices made up a higher proportion of those who referred patients out. Half indicated they do not participate in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.

"Provision of recommended vaccines by most family physicians remains an important service. Smaller practices have more difficulty offering a full array of vaccine products, and lack of adequate payment contributes to referring patients outside the medical home. The reasons behind the lack of participation in the VFC program deserve further study," the authors write.

Study authors disclosed financial ties to various pharmaceutical companies.

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