The Adult Vaccine Access Coalition (AVAC) consists of over 50 organizational leaders in health and public health who are committed to tackling the range of barriers to adult immunization and to raising awareness of its importance. AVAC works towards common legislative and regulatory solutions that will strengthen and enhance access to adult immunization across the health care system.
As you know, every year, more than 50,000 American adults become seriously ill or lose their life as a result of a vaccine-preventable condition. Vaccine-preventable diseases cost the U.S. billions each year. As the U.S. population ages at an unprecedented rate, with 78 million Baby Boomers becoming seniors, improving rates of adult vaccination is a national imperative. Higher vaccination rates among adults reduce clinic visits, hospitalizations, and the incidence of long-term disability. Nevertheless, adult vaccination rates remain below national goals.
We appreciate the NVAC session today on the important issue of quality measurement. AVAC strongly supports building, strengthening and advancing a new generation of process and outcome quality measures to enable providers and health plans to track, report, and ultimately achieve increased adult immunization rates. We are committed to ensuring that adult immunization measures strike the right balance in terms of the burden on providers while ensuring the integrity and societal value of quality measurement.
Quality reporting measures are an increasingly important tool to track progress and desired outcomes in terms of preventive services benchmarks. Monitoring and reporting of offered and administered immunizations helps to ensure that the growing number ACIP-recommended immunizations for adults remain a priority and in the forefront of clinical care standards. In addition, reducing the number of missed immunization opportunities is imperative to improving health and reducing the burden of vaccine preventable disease. Developing, testing, and integrating ACIP-recommended adult immunizations as quality measures and incentive benchmarks under Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance would help drive utilization and improve patient access to these low-cost preventive services.
Recently, representatives from AVAC and renowned vaccine experts partnered on a white paper entitled The Value and Imperative of Quality Measures for Adult Vaccinesi. The paper highlights how vaccine quality measures can prevent illness and death, reduce caregiving demands, save unnecessary healthcare spending, and set the foundation for healthy aging. We have a few copies here and you can also find the report on our website – www.adultvaccinesnow.org.
As heard at the February NVAC meeting, there has been some amazing work out of the Indian Health Service around Immunization Composite Measures. The adult immunization schedule is complex, and composite measures offer an efficient and effective way to enhance measurement of adult vaccines without further burdening providers. Additionally, as you heard today, the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) and other organizations are developing immunization quality metrics to identify and address gaps in adult immunization, including PQAs work to improve reporting to immunization registries. We hope to see this work continue and supported by NVAC.
Immunizations have demonstrated “effective prevention” in reducing rates of morbidity and mortality from a growing number of preventable conditions and improving overall health in a cost efficient manner. Again, thank you for the opportunity to provide comments today.