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New health commissioner looks to improve health programs, partner with physicians at local level
e-Reports, March 4, 2013
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As the newly appointed commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), William VanNess II, M.D., remains patient focused. A solo practitioner for 24 years, a past president of the ISMA and former CEO of Community Hospital Anderson, he believes his experiences will help him guide the ISDH.

Health Status Concerns
Troubled by the state’s 41 out of 50 ranking, as reported by the United Health Foundation, America’s Health Rankings, Dr. VanNess is concerned about lifestyle issues. In Indiana, people are:

  • 30% - obese
  • 25.6% - smokers
  • 10.2% - diabetic
  • 29.2% - sedentary

Additionally, the statewide program INShape Indiana, will be examined. The initiative was created about five years ago to encourage residents to eat healthy, quit smoking and exercise.

Dr. VanNess plans to work with Gov. Mike Pence on job creation. He noted that health and jobs are related, something he learned while working in Anderson.

How you can help

William VanNess II, M.D.

Dr. VanNess hopes to improve childhood immunization rates by working with physicians at the local level. Less than 50 percent of the state’s youngest citizens are age-appropriately vaccinated, and while that number has improved, it’s not enough.

You can help by registering to use the Children and Hoosier Immunization Registry Program (CHIRP) and MyVaxIndiana.

“Physicians have good ideas. They are on the front lines. We want to be able to discuss the issues with them,” he said.

If you have thoughts or concerns to share with Dr. VanNess, contact him at (317) 233-7400.

What is CHIRP?
CHIRP is a free Internet-based, statewide program designed to help you and other health care providers track immunization records of all Hoosiers. Some of the registry’s features include:

  • Immediate access to immunization records of a patient previously seen elsewhere
  • Ability to track vaccine inventory by lot number
  • Accurate forecasting to prevent invalid or unneeded doses of vaccine
  • Display feature stating why a vaccine marked invalid does not meet ACIP guidelines
  • Reminder cards and letters to patients

CHIRP maintains data on more than 6.5 million patient records and 40 million vaccinations. Approximately 8,300 users representing physician practices, community health centers, hospitals, local public health departments, schools and daycare centers access and enter data into the program.

As a registered user of CHIRP, you can further boost immunization rates by encouraging patients to use MyVaxIndiana. The secure website enables parents to view vaccine history and recommended immunizations from any computer. All you need to do is provide the patient a personal identification number, which is generated in CHIRP to grant specific access to the record they have requested. The system also includes an instruction guide that can be printed or emailed to parents.

Find out how you can register to use CHIRP by visiting their website or call (317) 234-2584. Learn more about MyVaxIndiana on their website.

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