Developing a sustainable funding or reimbursement model for SLIV programs is an ongoing challenge for local health departments and school districts. Below are some strategies that we explored and/or utilized to sustain the program beyond the initial grant:
- Work with local healthcare insurers to to request reimbursement for members vaccinated by the program. They will likely want to see data related to the impact of the program (e.g. reduced illness). If you don’t have local data of SLIV impact on flu transmission, there is a wealth of literature that demonstrates how SLIV reduces community flu transmission. This is also an opportunity for insurers to invest in local communities.
- Consider approaching local hospital and healthcare systems’ community benefit programs. While this may not be a sustainable way of funding as grants are usually given for a finite time frame, this may help bridge gaps in funding or provide entree into conversations with insurers. These programs may also have staff who can help connect you to local resources or identify creative ways for securing funding or in-kind resources.
- Utilize as many in-kind and volunteer resources as can be coordinated. For staffing, consider students at local universities and nursing schools, Medical Reserve Corps, and nurses associations.
- Explore the feasibility of billing for vaccinations administered. There are some programs that do this, mostly in areas where there are a small number of insurers operating in the market.
- We are one of a number of programs trying to sustain a local SLIV program. We learned from many great examples of programs and are thankful for the ability to build upon others’ lessons learned. The notes above are from our perspective but there are a number of programs that have been operating for a longer time frame using creative resources. We would like to recognize Hawaii State Department of Health’s Stop Flu at School program, Healthy Schools LLC (now SchoolCare), the E3 Alliance in Texas, and the Alachua County Health Department in Florida.