Medicare to pay same rate for administering H1N1 vaccine as seasonal flu vaccine

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CDC recommends pneumonia vaccine and flu vaccine for seniors this year
CDC recommends pneumonia vaccine and flu vaccine for seniors this year

Healthcare providers will receive the same Medicare payment rate to administer the H1N1 flu vaccine as the seasonal flu vaccine, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said.

The agency will pay for both vaccinations and for administering more than one dose of vaccine, if medically necessary, CMS said. Those 65 and older currently are not considered at risk for H1N1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that this population should receive the vaccine after vaccine demand for the priority groups has been met. 

Meanwhile, the Institute of Medicine recommended that healthcare workers exposed to patients with suspected or confirmed H1N1 flu wear N95 respirators. The IOM also recommends vaccinating healthcare workers against the virus, considering separate waiting areas and rooms for H1N1 patients, and encouraging workers to use protective gloves and good hand-washing and respiratory hygiene.

See the IOM report at http://www.iom.edu/CMS/3740/71769/72967.aspx. For more information on Medicare and H1N1, go to http://www.cms.hhs.gov/MLNMattersArticles/downloads/SE0920.pdf. Go to the following Web site for CDC guidance: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidelines_infection_control.htm.