Truman VA to use new mask policy this flu season

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COLUMBIA - The Harry S. Truman VA Hospital will be enforcing a new policy this flu season which requires employees who do not receive the influenza vaccine to wear surgical masks.

The policy comes from a more national movement from the Department of Health and Human Services called Healthy People 2020. It aims to help health care providers achieve various health goals in their individual institutions. The policy also works toward goals set forward by The Joint Commission for healthcare facilities to get 90 percent of employees to vaccinate.

According to VA officials, only 64 percent of employees vaccinated during the flu season in 2016.

Boone County Hospital officials told KOMU their employees are already working under a similar policy which requires employees to wear masks when determined by medical directors.

MU Healthcare officials also told KOMU they do not require unvaccinated employees to wear masks but asks them to stay home if they are sick. 

The flu season, as defined in the policy, lasts from December 1 to March 31 of 2018. VA officials said masks will be provided to all employees who do not receive the vaccine.