UMC foots bill for Hep A vaccines - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

UMC foots bill for Hep A vaccines

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

The Hepatitis A vaccinations will be administered by the Lubbock Health Department.  However, because of State budget cuts, the department has to reply on a local hospital to pay for them.

Normally, the State would have funded the vaccinations.  However, due to challenges with the State Budget, that money wasn't available this year.

"That program has been discontinued and the city had to go out and find a supplier for the vaccines on their own," Greg Bruce with University Medical Center said.

The Lubbock Health Department worked to secure a supplier, but they had a hard time.  So, University Medical Center stepped in to help.  Bruce says the hospital has secured more than 5,000 vaccinations.  One of those shipments was set to arrive Thursday evening.

"We'll get 2 other shipments - overnighted and early in the morning - and we will have the vaccine available to provide to the city first thing in the morning," Bruce said.

The price tag for the vaccinations was $256,000.  Bruce says the city and UMC have worked out a payment arrangement.

"An inter-local agreement between UMC and the city of Lubbock for them to reimburse us," Bruce said.

Meanwhile, with the City of Lubbock considering closing down the Lubbock Health Department, many residents want to know what would happen if a health scare like this arises again in the future.

Bridget Faulkenberry, the Health Department director, said, "You know, in the past we have always gotten assistance in situations like this.  When we had the H1N1 outbreak 2 years ago, we called in contract nurses and nurses from the state and region and other local nurses. This will not change, we are still operating as we always have.  The surveillance office has been scheduled to stay with the city, so nothing will change."

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11.

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