flu vaccine available
St. Mary’s Hospital and their four satellite medical clinics have received a shipment of 550 seasonal flu vaccine doses. Anyone who would like a vaccination may visit their clinics in Kamiah, Cottonwood, Craigmont or Nezperce during regular business hours.
“Many of our patients have received their seasonal flu vaccination, but we have a shipment and are announcing the additional vaccine for anyone who is interested,” said Shari Kuther, RN, SMHC Clinic Nursing Coordinator. “This is not to be confused with the H1N1 vaccine. The public health departments are administering those vaccinations.”
SMHC can bill Medicare, Medicaid and Champus so people should bring those proof of insurance cards. “We cannot bill private insurances so those who don’t qualify for the above insurances should bring $35 for a flu shot and $55 if they would like a pneumonia vaccination. Costs are payable at time of visit,” said Kuther.
People who need flu shots the most are those in the high risk categories including individuals over the age of 65; residents of long term care facilities; those with compromised immune systems; children and adults with chronic disorders of the pulmonary or cardiovascular systems, including asthma; patients with chronic metabolic diseases, including diabetes; those with kidney disease; women who will be in the second or third trimester of pregnancy during the influenza season and health care workers;.
Flu shots are also available from the health department and in a variety of other locations. Information about flu and other vaccines is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: www.cdc.gov .
Home Health transitions to Visiting Nurse Serve program
St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospitals will continue to provide skilled nursing services in patients’ homes through a new program. The SMH-CVHC Home Health program transitioned into the Visiting Nurse Service program last month. The new program is being administered through the Pioneer Medical Clinic in Pierce and will continue to serve patients on the Camas Prairie and along the Clearwater River corridor.
“Although it’s been a difficult time for home health agencies in the recent past, we’ve devised a creative way to continue to serve our current patients and expand to new areas. We are providing uninterrupted service with our same staff of RNs,” said Shawn Severson, RN, SMH-CVHC VNS Director. “Many hospitals are no longer providing home health services due to tough reimbursement issues. We understand the value of providing in home nursing care and are taking advantage of the VNS program which is designed for rural areas like ours.”
VNS reimburses for nursing visits, but does not cover physical therapy or home health aides. To qualify a person must need assistance to leave home, be under a physician’s care, be willing to follow a plan of care and require intermittent skilled nursing care.
The RNs from the CVH/SMH VNS program will be centrally located in Kamiah. “Because our service area includes areas along the river, as well as, on the Camas Prairie, it makes the most sense to have our nurses centrally based,” said Severson. “Our phone numbers will remain the same and we’ll certainly retain our ties with the health care providers in our area.”
The VNS program will serve the towns of Orofino, Cottonwood, Grangeville, Craigmont, Winchester, Reubens, Gifford, Peck, Lenore, Weippe Pierce, Kamiah, Kooskia, Stites, Fenn, Keuterville, Ferdinand, Nezperce and the surrounding areas.
“Our board of directors is committed to providing a continuum of care to people in this region. A lot of research went into finding an alternate way of providing care for people who need nursing services in their own home,” said Casey Meza, CEO. “I really appreciate the work that went into developing our VNS program. I understand it’s the first in the state of Idaho.”
The CVH/SMH VNS program can be reached by calling 962-2461 in the Cottonwood area and 476-8025 in the Orofino area. Other callers can call the toll free number, 1.800.497.7412.