Thursday, December 4, 2008

Scone: First, do no harm

A recent study published in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics finds that about half of some 800 pediatricians and family docs surveyed delayed purchasing childhood vaccines because of high vaccine costs compared to low reimbursement rates, and another poll finds that 11% of doctors (just 5% of pediatricians) have seriously considered not providing vaccines at all.

The news is meaningful to employers because as health care costs continue to rise and Americans forego health care for themselves and children for financial reasons, a smaller number of doctors providing vaccines could lead to larger outbreaks of certain diseases -- equaling higher health plan costs and employee absences to care for sick children or themselves.

As employers put a larger focus on primary and preventive care in their wellness efforts, cooperation from physicians, including pediatricians who care for employees' children, is essential.

Here's hoping this is a blip for pediatricians, brought on by the economic pressures we're all facing. Anything more than that, and employers, employees and their families could be physically and financially harmed.

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