by Claire Dwoskin, Founder, Childrens Medical Safety Research Institute
Special to Health Impact News
When you are sick, injured or just need a check-up, you trust that your doctor is giving you valid, conflict-free, evidence-based advice on what is best for your health. The last thing you want to believe is that your doctor is putting a drug company’s interests, or their own, over your health.
What if you discovered that the flu vaccine, or any vaccine, is being given to you or your child without your consent or knowledge, or to a loved one in the hospital at a time when it is contraindicated for his or her condition? What if you learned that your health care providers were, themselves, force-vaccinated against their better judgement just to stay employed? What if these policies were ultimately driven by financial incentives for those who make and enforce them?
The following answers, interspersed with personal stories I have heard directly from parents, patients and healthcare workers, will have you questioning the next time you are faced with vaccine decisions. Protecting your loved ones and your right to informed consent when it comes to any medical procedure that carries with it the risk of injury or death depends on YOU doing your own research. An informed and educated healthcare consumer is the best protection against becoming a statistic in the epidemic of eroding national health.
Uncovering the Facts Behind Mandatory Flu Vaccines for Healthcare Workers
Dr. Meryl Nass, M.D., a 36-year career board certified internal medicine practitioner in Maine, has written extensively about vaccine safety and vaccine policy. She is most well-known for her work with hundreds of Gulf War Veterans who became ill after receiving the anthrax vaccine. Her most recent research has uncovered new information about a nationally imposed flu vaccine policy for healthcare workers. This policy also affects patients at hospitals and in pediatric practices, and general practitioners who are being lobbied, cajoled and sometimes deceived into getting flu vaccines.
Dr. Nass discovered that the Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) established by Medicare and organizations like the National Quality Forum, a federally established, public-private health quality assessment organization are created for the purpose of enforcing policies that are selected as “quality improvement” measures, whether or not they improve care or lower costs. They are surrogate measures that can then be used to get institutions to either comply or lose millions of dollars in reimbursements (up to 4% of acute care hospitals’ total Medicare reimbursements). The more employees and patients vaccinated, the higher the reimbursement rate.
In a recent article, Dr. Nass described the complaint and resulting settlement of seven health care workers in Erie, PA who were fired for refusing flu vaccines for religious reasons. They won an EEOC settlement of $300,000 which requires them to be reinstated and receive back pay and compensatory damages for alleged religious discrimination.
The following is an excerpt from a local newspaper that covered the story:
The commission had claimed Saint Vincent violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it fired the six workers, who refused to be vaccinated after the hospital implemented a mandatory flu vaccination policy for all employees. The hospital granted medical exemptions to 14 other workers.
The bottom line is that the federal government squeezed hospitals by requiring hospitals to report the rates of yearly influenza vaccinations of both hospital staff and hospital patients, including these two measures in a global calculation of hospital ‘quality.’ A hospital’s ‘quality’ number determines approximately 3.75% of its overall Medicare reimbursements rate in 2017 (with yearly adjustments to this number). In the healthcare industry, 3.75% is enough to make a hospital sink or swim. The hospitals, predictably, acquiesced by demanding their employees be vaccinated or fired.
This is evidently not so much a health policy, but a transactional policy: mandates are being forced upon employees so that hospitals will reap financial gain. Simply put, your practitioners’ health and autonomy are being used as a bartering tool to increase Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, which can determine whether a hospital has a profit and loss when margins are slim.