Charles Cole Memorial Hospital Achieves Top 5 Percent in State for Staff Flu Immunization Participation

COUDERSPORT – Charles Cole Memorial Hospital has been recognized by the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) for achieving a vaccination rate of 97% of the hospital’s employees for the 2011-12 influenza season. Charles Cole Memorial Hospital is one of three hospitals in central Pennsylvania and the only one in the state’s western region to achieve this high percentage of coverage.

Because Charles Cole Memorial Hospital focuses on protecting the overall health of its patients, residents and visitors, a motivational and educational vaccination campaign was successfully communicated from October through November to over 800 employees, medical staff members, students and volunteers.

Jeffrey R. Miller, MD, MPH, Centers for Disease Control Preventive Medicine Resident assigned to the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Epidemiology and Simwale Owen, MPH, of HAP contacted Ed Pitchford, president and CEO of Charles Cole Memorial Hospital, to congratulate his team and learn more about the hospital’s exemplary efforts.

“Across our organization, we emphasize that patient safety is our highest priority,” said Ed Pitchford. “I am very proud of my colleagues who for the third consecutive year have been vaccinated in record numbers. This demonstrates to our patients and their families that we truly care about their health and safety. This program is only the tip of the iceberg. There have been and continue to be other successful initiatives focused on the welfare of our patients.”

Charles Cole Memorial Hospital will receive a certificate of excellence from the Pennsylvania Department of Health for reaching close to 100% employee vaccination participation. CCMH is also listed on the DOH website under the “Honor Roll” as one of Pennsylvania’s healthcare facilities achieving influenza vaccination rates of 90% or better.

Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) estimate that influenza causes a national average of 23,000 deaths annually, the average 2010-2011 seasonal influenza vaccination rate was 63.5% among healthcare personnel in the United States, far below the “Healthy People 2020” goal of 90%. Influenza vaccination is the single most effective way of preventing influenza infection. Even among those who are not entirely protected, the vaccine still reduces the complications of influenza.

Charles Cole Memorial Hospital and its ten rural health centers serve approximately 50,000 residents within a 65-mile service area including Potter, Cameron, McKean and Tioga Counties in Pennsylvania and New York’s southern tier. For more information, visit www.charlescolehospital.com.