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MHA Today | October 16, 2020



MHA Today

MHA Today is provided as a service to members of the Missouri Hospital Association.

Past issues are available in the Media Library.


It’s been a big week for vaccines. Monday, MHA released the first edition of our COVID-19 Interactive Dashboard that includes influenza monitoring data. Tuesday, Gov. Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson received their flu vaccine, joining statewide promotions of vaccination for influenza, which the state formally rolled out this week. Finally, the state presented its COVID-19 vaccine plan to Parson for state participation, as mandated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

On Tuesday’s MHA call with Parson, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams indicated that the state’s target for influenza vaccination was 60% statewide. The administration’s goal represents the urgency of avoiding a “twindemic” of influenza and COVID-19, which could further limit already strained hospital and health care resources. It is a goal that we all share.

Gov. Parson and First Lady get flu shotIn other years, some patients approach the flu vaccine with a healthy dollop of skepticism. After all, there often are side discussions of whether any year’s vaccine is well matched, if the vaccine is worth the trouble of arranging for a provider to administer it and whether protection matters if you aren’t in an at-risk population. This year, the stakes are very different.

It is too early to know when a COVID-19 vaccine will be available to priority populations, let alone the public. Conversely, the flu vaccine is readily available, and early evidence suggests that the public health precautions that are being used to control COVID-19 are what experts recommend for controlling influenza.

However, one of the most interesting aspects of the influenza monitoring tab of the dashboard addition is the bottom chart which displays vaccination rates and timing, and inpatient and outpatient utilization, for influenza-like illness. If you look at the data for 2018, you can see a clear correlation between vaccination and utilization.

Flu DashboardVaccine complacency is real. It’s clear that diseases like measles are creeping back into the population because of unfounded concerns about vaccinations and science. Facebook and Google “scientists” actively propagate anecdote-based conspiracies spreading false narratives — that real scientists don’t know diddly about how vaccines work. The truth is, vaccines have transformed modern life.

While the influenza vaccination campaign and the future COVID-19 vaccine efforts are not necessarily similar, they are parallel. Our success at one will create a bridge to the other. Today, far too many hospitals are filling up with COVID-19 patients. A flu surge on top of a COVID-19 surge could easily overwhelm our capacity.

Vaccination can be a literal and figurative pain. However, it reduces illness — which the 2018 data validates — and provides the time and space for us to manage through the pandemic. As a result, it is a pain we all should endure.

Send me a note to let me know what you’re thinking.



Herb B. Kuhn
MHA President and CEO

In This Issue

MHA Distributes Analysis Of Final Medicare Inpatient PPS For FFY 2021
MHD Publishes Orders Of Rulemaking
Missouri Medicaid Caseload Growth Continues
MLN Connects Provider eNews Available
MHA Publishes EPICC Statewide Status Report
Appellate Court Hears Arguments In Price Transparency Lawsuit

Regulatory News
Quality and Population Health
Health Law Insights
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