Flu vaccinations for poor predicated on doctor reimbursement rates

The number of poor U.S. children who are administered the influenza vaccine is dependent on how much doctors are paid in reimbursements, according to researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center.

An analysis of state vaccination data from National Immunization Surveys for 2005 through 2008, as well as socio-economic data, was conducted by Dr. Byung-Kwang Yoo and a team of colleagues from the University of Rochester, UPI reports.

Children in families living below the poverty line were found to have the lowest rates of flu vaccination. The study, to be published in the journal Pediatrics, demonstrated that the number of poor children who receive the shot could be increased one percent for every dollar paid to physicians to give it.

"There is a strong correlation between flu vaccination and Medicaid reimbursement rates," the researchers said in a statement, according to UPI. "Improving reimbursement rates could improve vaccine coverage among poor children."

Vaccines for children that are done through Medicaid are paid for by the U.S. government, but the rates of reimbursement to physicians varies from state to state. In Colorado, Connecticut and Hawaii, the rate is approximately two dollars per flu shot. In New York, that rate climbs to almost $18. The average reimbursement is around $9, UPI reports.