National Infant Immunization Week Great Time To Review Your Family’s Immunizations

April 18–25 is National Infant Immunization Week. Publicity over measles, rotavirus, pertussis, polio, rubella, various flu strains and the much rarer Ebola and other viruses have helped remind Americans that immunizations play a critical role in protecting their families and others in their communities from potentially deadly or disabling diseases disease.

Decisions about what immunizations you and your family members should or should not get should be tailored to your individual health risk profile, in consultation with your physician taking into account the latest medical evidence and risk data.   While some immunizations make sense for the majority of individuals, other vaccinations may be unnecessary or inappropriate for others.  Decisions about what immunizations to get and when can depend on a wide range of factors unique to the individual health, lifestyle, community and situation of the individual, the contagious disease and other risk profiles of the communities in which they live and a host of other factors.

Cost of immunizations often is one of the concerns that family members ask about when considering whether and when to get immunizations for themselves or their families.  The cost of many immunizations often is covered in whole or part by health insurance.  This is particularly true in the case of infant or child immunizations, where insurer or other payers recognize the value of cover or are subject to federal or state mandates to provide benefits for the immunization.  For the uninsured or in the case of various other immunizations, free or reduced cost vaccinations for many of the most widely recommended immunizations also often are available from public health departments, public health or other health clinics, at community or other health fairs or from other sources.  Check with your local public health department, physician, community hospital or health plan about the potential availability of these sources and options.

Each individual should educate him or herself about the available immunizations using reliable, peer reviewed credentials and then work with his physician to decide which immunizations are advisable or necessary for their family members. While discussion of options, questions and concerns with friends or others, it is important to keep in mind that these impressions and opinions often may rely upon assumptions that rely on historical practices, outdated or disproven understandings, unique circumstances or other factors that may make the decisions or opinions of the non-physician inaccurate or inappropriate for you or your family.

To help prepare to discuss your family’s immunization profile and choices with your physician or other qualified medical profession, you may want to check out some of the resources on Immunization & Vaccination in the U.S. Government Bookstore here.

About Project COPE: The Coalition On Patient Empowerment & Its  Coalition on Responsible Health Policy

Do you have feedback or other experiences to share about medical debit, ACA or other health care challenges?  Have ideas for helping improve our system, helping Americans cope with these and other health care challenges or other health care matters? Know other helpful resources or experiences that you are willing to share?  Are you concerned about health care coverage or other health care and disability issues or policy concerns?  Join the discussion and share your input by joining Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here.

Sharing and promoting the use of practical practices, tools, information and ideas that patients and their families, health care providers, employers, health plans, communities and policymakers can share and offer to help patients, their families and others in their care communities to understand and work together to better help the patients, their family and their professional and private care community plan for and manage these  needs is the purpose of Project COPE, The Coalition on Patient Empowerment & It’s Affiliate, the Coalition on Responsible Health Policy.

The best opportunity to improve access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans is for every American, and every employer, insurer, and community organization to seize the opportunity to be good Samaritans.  The government, health care providers, insurers and community organizations can help by providing education and resources to make understanding and dealing with the realities of illness, disability or aging easier for a patient and their family, the affected employers and others. At the end of the day, however, caring for people requires the human touch.  Americans can best improve health care by not waiting for someone else to step up:  Step up and help bridge the gap when you or your organization can. Speak up to help communicate and facilitate when you can.  Building health care neighborhoods filled with good neighbors throughout the community is the key.

The outcome of this latest health care reform push is only a small part of a continuing process.  Whether or not the Affordable Care Act makes financing care better or worse, the same challenges exist.  The real meaning of the enacted reforms will be determined largely by the shaping and implementation of regulations and enforcement actions which generally are conducted outside the public eye.  Americans individually and collectively clearly should monitor and continue to provide input through this critical time to help shape constructive rather than obstructive policy. Regardless of how the policy ultimately evolves, however, Americans, American businesses, and American communities still will need to roll up their sleeves and work to deal with the realities of dealing with ill, aging and disabled people and their families.  While the reimbursement and coverage map will change and new government mandates will confine providers, payers and patients, the practical needs and challenges of patients and families will be the same and confusion about the new configuration will create new challenges as patients, providers and payers work through the changes.

We also encourage you and others to help develop real meaningful improvements by joining Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here by sharing ideas, tools and other solutions and other resources. The Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy provides a resource that concerned Americans can use to share, monitor and discuss the Health Care Reform law and other health care, insurance and related laws, regulations, policies and practices and options for promoting access to quality, affordable healthcare through the design, administration and enforcement of these regulations.

Other Helpful Resources & Other Information

We hope that this information is useful to you.   If you found these updates of interest, you also be interested in one or more of the following other recent articles published on the Coalition for Responsible Health Care Reform electronic publication available here, our electronic Solutions Law Press Health Care Update publication available here, or our HR & Benefits Update electronic publication available here .  You also can get access to information about how you can arrange for training on “Building Your Family’s Health Care Toolkit,”  using the “PlayForLife” resources to organize low-cost wellness programs in your workplace, school, church or other communities, and other process improvement, compliance and other training and other resources for health care providers, employers, health plans, community leaders and others here. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail by creating or updating your profile here. You can reach other recent updates and other informative publications and resources.

Some examples of these publications include:

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