Tips to create a financially sound vaccine program

Although vaccines represent a key element of preventive healthcare, physician practices are increasingly outsourcing this service due to the associated cost and inadequate reimbursement of stocking and administering shots.

With a solid system in place, however, practices can effectively and affordably immunize their own patients, according to a recent article from Medical Economics.

Consider the following real-world tips from authors Alan Johnson, M.D., a pediatrician, and Kathy Chebib, practice business manager:

  • Compare costs. Once you complete a scientific review to determine which vaccine schedule you prefer, evaluate your various purchasing options. For example, it may be more costly to order vaccines from a distributor than it is directly from the manufacturer. Be sure to monitor payment terms as well, the article notes. If you are eligible for 90-day payment terms, for example, you should be able to administer the vaccine, bill the payer and receive reimbursement before paying your vaccine invoice.
  • Set appropriate fees. "The revenue derived from providing vaccinations should contribute appropriately towards your practice overhead," the authors wrote. For advice in setting fees that cover the cost to purchase, order, store, insure, offset waste and administer vaccines, seek published guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics or other relevant resource.
  • Consult coding resources. There are two parts to vaccine reimbursement: the cost of the vaccine itself and the administration. Resources for coding the administration piece are available from most manufacturers. In addition, most manufacturers have personnel who can help practices handle reimbursement problems with insurers, according to Johnson and Chebib.

To learn more:
- read the article