Patients covered by health insurance will no longer have to pay out of pocket for vaccines at the Montgomery County Health Department.
The health department received approval from the health board this week to partner with immunization company VaxCare to manage vaccination services. The system will allow staff to bill a patient’s insurance company for a vaccine.
“This really expands our ability for public health in terms of offering vaccinations to the public, and that’s the primary goal of the whole process,” county health officer Dr. Scott Douglas told the board.
VaxCare will provide vaccines and related supplies to the county, tracking the inventory through an online portal. The company automatically ships more vaccines to restock.
Health department administrator Amber Reed said the system would streamline the supply monitoring process.
“The inventory on those vaccinations is harder to manage because there’s just really no good program to do that,” Reed said during the board meeting.
Staff can also access proof of a patient’s insurance, and the portal feeds the state’s vaccine registry. The portal can be used at mobile vaccine clinics.
The system currently only covers the department’s private stock, but the company is working to add federally-funded vaccinations for children and other priority groups.
The health department will pay VaxCare $20 per month for the service and there is no long-term contract.
Out-of-pocket costs for immunizations provided by the health department range from $20 for a tuberculosis test to $75 for a measles, mumps and rubella vaccination. The department is now able to provide shingles and pneumococcal vaccines.
The health department halted all but infant vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic.