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Hospital CEOs take shot at leading way with flu vaccinations

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MASSENA - North Country hospital chief executive officers - CEOs from Alice Hyde Medical Center (Malone), Canton-Potsdam Hospital (Potsdam), Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center (Ogdensburg), Champlain Valley Physician Hospital-Medical Center (Plattsburgh), Elizabethtown Community Hospital (Elizabethtown), Massena Memorial Hospital (Massena), and Samaritan Medical Center (Watertown) - got vaccinated against the flu to promote the prevention of influenza transmission by healthcare workers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age as the single best step in preventing the spread of flu viruses.

North Country Healthcare Providers CEOs note the importance of getting vaccinated against the flu as a professional and business priority for their hospitals.

Chairman Mark Webster noted, “Protecting our patients, our families, and ourselves from the flu is our professional duty. We have pledged to ‘do no harm,’ and this includes avoiding harm to others. Getting the flu shot is the right thing to do.”

The CDC estimates that the flu costs business in the United States $10.4 billion annually in direct costs for hospitalizations and outpatient visits; the figure is even higher when factoring in costs related to decreased productivity from lost work days.

New York State Public Health law now requires that all healthcare personnel receive a flu vaccine during influenza season as an important step to prevent the transmission of influenza. Seasonal flu vaccinations typically begin every fall. The CDC states that the timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in January or February; however, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May. Healthcare personnel who do not get vaccinated against the flu will be required to wear a face mask while on the job during influenza season. The new rule applies to everyone working in the hospital, including volunteers. Each hospital will be hosting flu vaccination clinics for their employees and families this fall to make getting vaccinated easier.

North Country Healthcare Providers’ CEOs encourage individuals to take part in community-wide flu vaccination clinics. Refer to http://flushot.healthmap.org for more information on clinics near you. In addition to getting yourself and your family vaccinated, it is important to remember everyday preventative steps, like good hand washing and staying home from work or school if you develop flu-like symptoms, to prevent the spread of germs to others.

Alice Hyde Medical Center, Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, CVPH Medical Center, Elizabethtown Community Hospital, Massena Memorial Hospital, and Samaritan Medical Center are all members of North Country Healthcare Providers Educational and Research Fund, which is a multi-hospital Rural Health Network serving Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton, and Essex Counties. The mission of North Country Healthcare Providers Educational and Research Fund is to lead North Country healthcare organizations in transforming our regional healthcare systems through collaboration, engagement, planning, and development.

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