66 pages | 6x9
Immunization is essential to disease prevention efforts in public health, but the U.S. health care system faces financial challenges that are affecting the delivery of immunization services. An earlier report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), Calling the Shots: Immunization Finance Policies and Practices, pointed to the instability of the fundamental infrastructure that supports immunization programs throughout the United States, including growing financial burdens and operational complexities in immunization services, shortcomings in public- and private-sector investments in vaccine purchases and immunization programs, and fluctuations in insurance plans in the public and private health care sectors that create uncertainties regarding coverage of vaccine purchase and service delivery arrangements. In October 2001, a group of about 50 health officials, public health experts, health care providers, health plan representatives and purchasers, state legislative officials, and community leaders met at the Texas Medical Association in Austin to explore the implications of the IOM findings and recommendations for Texas. The 1-day workshop was the second in a series of four meetings organized by IOM with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to foster informed discussions about challenges for immunization finance and future strategies for strengthening immunization activities and the public health infrastructure that supports those activities.
This report of the Austin workshop summarizes the findings of the previous IOM report and reviews continuing challenges in immunization finance for the nation and for individual states, with a particular focus on Texas. The report also highlights strategies proposed by individual workshop participants that can be used to address those challenges. Several presenters and discussants emphasized that adequate funding is necessary for immunization programs but that financial resources alone are not sufficient to guarantee success. Similarly, they indicated that no single agency or group in the public or the private sector should expect, or should be expected, to solve immunization problems. Speakers from both public and private health agencies observed that collaboration, consultation, and partnership efforts across levels of government and between the public and private sectors are essential.