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Geisinger recognized by DOH, medical journal for employee influenza vaccination rate

CONTACT  Amanda O’Rourke: 214-9091
Nov. 3, 2011

DANVILLE, Pa. – Geisinger Health System (GHS) was awarded a Certificate of Excellence from the Pennsylvania Department of Health for vaccinating 95 percent of employees against influenza during the 2009-10 flu season.  

“Studies have shown that higher vaccination rates among healthcare workers can reduce influenza-like illnesses, and even deaths, in hospital settings,” said Lisa Esolen, M.D., Systems Director of Infection Control for GHS. “At Geisinger, we have taken great pride in achieving a remarkably high vaccination rate among our employees.”

In addition to Geisinger’s recognition by the state Department of Health, a group of Geisinger clinicians and administrators was published recently in the medical journal, Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. The report detailed the success of the system’s employee influenza vaccination campaign.

Authors were Dr. Esolen; Kim Kilheeney, R.N., Director of Occupational Health; Richard Merkle, Chief Human Resources Officer; and Albert Bothe, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at GHS.

The article, “An Alternate Approach to Improving Healthcare Worker Influenza Vaccination Rates,” explored the 95 percent vaccination rate achieved by GHS during the 2009-10 flu season, a success attributed to a strong mandatory masking policy as a key component of Geisinger’s employee vaccination campaign.

Employees who choose to forego influenza vaccination were required to wear masks when within six feet of another employee, patient or visitor until the end of the influenza season.

“By getting vaccinated, healthcare workers help to protect their families at home as well as their patients at work from getting sick,” Dr. Esolen said. “We are in the midst of our 2011-12 employee influenza vaccination campaign and fully expect to see similar results this year.”













Lisa Esolen, M.D., Systems Director of Infection Control for Geisinger Health System, left,
and Kim Kilheeney, R.N., Director of Occupational Health, right, display the Certificate of
Excellence from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

About Geisinger Health System

Geisinger is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record, and the development and implementation of innovative care models including ProvenHealth Navigator®, an advanced medical home model, and ProvenCare program. The system serves more than 2.6 million residents throughout 44 counties in central and northeast Pennsylvania. For more information, visit Follow the latest Geisinger news and more at  and

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