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VALLEY FOCUS | Woodland Hills

HMO Earns Award for Immunization Efforts

February 02, 1998|SYLVIA L. OLIANDE

In recognition of its educational efforts, the national research arm of Prudential HealthCare has been awarded $250,000 to further research into ways to increase immunization rates of young children.

The Warner Center-based managed-care provider will receive the funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Assn. of Health Plans.

Prudential was honored in 1996 by the association for its study of the causes of undervaccinating children and its educational efforts to promote timely immunizations, but this is the first monetary award for its research, said Peggy Frank Lyle, a Prudential spokeswoman.

The Prudential study found that an estimated 23% of the cases involved missed opportunities to vaccinate a child during a doctor visit for an illness, and 37% were not immunized because of a poor system of tracking a child's history, Lyle said.

As a result of the findings, Prudential implemented several programs to increase the rate of immunizations, including distributing literature to keep the issue on the minds of pediatricians and general practitioners nationwide.

The managed-care system also will better track childhood immunizations when patients change doctors, to help ensure that the parents, new physician and the HMO have accurate reports of a child's record, Lyle said.

The AAHP grant will be used to continue the company's programs and re-educate parents and doctors about the importance of timely immunization in the early years.

CDC officials estimate that 72% of all 2-year-olds receive recommended immunizations, below a national goal of having at least 90% immunized by the year 2000.

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