HCN News & Notes

AFC Doctors Express Ramps Up Influenza-prevention Efforts

WEST SPRINGFIELD — AFC Doctors Express, the largest independent urgent-care provider in the Commonwealth, recently announced support for a national campaign to promote flu prevention in the U.S. Central to the effort was last week’s National Flu Prevention Week, when flu vaccinations were offered at little or no cost to new and existing patients visiting AFC Doctors Express clinics.

The World Health Organization estimates that influenza is responsible for between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths globally every year. In addition to providing low-cost or no-cost flu shots at its clinics, AFC Doctors Express also established guidelines for employers to mitigate the risk of flu in the workplace. Indeed, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the annual direct costs — hospitalization, doctors’ office visits, medications, etc. — of influenza in the U.S. are estimated at $4.6 billion. Additionally, up to 111 million workdays are lost because of influenza at an estimated cost of $7 billion per year in sick days and lost productivity.

To assist in deploying flu-prevention measures in the workplace, AFC Doctors Express has established a hotline specifically for employers interested in curtailing the spread of colds and flu in the weeks and months ahead. Employers seeking help may call (205) 271-5037 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

While supplies last, AFC Doctors Express is also making available workplace readiness kits, which contain items essential to reducing the spread of the influenza virus. These kits include paper towels, Clorox Healthcare hydrogen peroxide disinfectant spray, hand sanitizer, pens (which carry germs that are easily transferred when shared), hand-sanitizer wipes, and a flu-prevention checklist for distribution to individual employees, so they can be more knowledgeable themselves.

To aid their effort, AFC Doctors Express has adopted the slogan, “One Nation. Free from Flu,” which will be used across multiple marketing channels to communicate the company’s goal for the inaugural year of the campaign.