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The University of Kansas Health System ranked nationally in 8 specialties on U.S. News & World Report's 2017-18 Best Hospitals List

Neonatal Medical Home's 100% Vaccine Rate – Twice

Published: 01/12/2018

Robert Fenton, APRN, with a young patient
With his funny faces, Neonatal Medical Home's Robert Fenton, APRN, reassures children during checkups and before vaccinations, here with Christina Darkis, 2½ years old.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Neonatal Medical Home has pulled off a remarkable feat: All of its small patients this quarter are fully compliant with their recommended vaccines.

What's more, they were fully compliant the previous quarter.

The back-to-back perfect scores for those 513 children is even more impressive when you consider the vaccine-compliance rate for that age group is 76.4% in Kansas and 70.7% for the nation.

The results are based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended vaccine series by age 2. The series encompasses 19 vaccinations in all, such as DTaP, Hib, MMR and Varicella. The Neonatal Medical Home administered 2,255 of the vaccinations last year.

There's no secret to the success, says Debbie Pennington, RN, the Neonatal Medical Home's clinical program coordinator. She and her colleagues are diligent about staying in contact with parents and encouraging them to make their appointments, which leads to higher vaccine rates.

"We call them with appointment reminders and follow up on missed visits," she says. Their persistence is reflected in the clinic's 98% visit compliance rate.

Pennington and others in the Neonatal Medical Home know they have an advantage over traditional pediatric practices. The clinic, which opened five years ago this month on the first floor of The University of Kansas Hospital, caters specifically to "graduates" of the hospital's Neonatal ICU, a one-stop healthcare visit for those children through age 5.

The bonds between parents, children and staff are especially strong. Before they take their babies home from the NICU, those parents meet with Neonatal Medical Home staff and learn about the clinic's services, including the vaccination schedule and the importance of keeping appointments.

Robert Fenton, APRN, says the clinic's parents tend to be especially focused on preventing illness among their children, many of whom remain high risk. "They've seen their kids in the NICU," he says. "They are really attuned to their health and just don't miss appointments."

The Neonatal Medical Home remains one of the few of its kind in the country, making comparisons with other clinics difficult. Its 10-person staff is supported by clinicians throughout the health system.

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