by Ian Perrotta
Review Special Writer
This flu season, don’t let the cost of your children’s vaccinations make you sick.
Through the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC), kids may be able to receive free immunizations at the Hamtramck School-Based Health Center.
The VFC is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of the inability to pay. In light of recent reports that several doctors in the Hamtramck area have charged between $200 and $500 for local families to receive vaccines, the Hamtramck School-Based Health Center would like the public to know that they have free health care services available to Hamtramck Public Schools students.
The parameters of the VFC program are simple: children who are eligible for Medicaid, who are uninsured or are underinsured qualify for the free shots. Those who are students attending or registered to Dickinson East and West, Holbrook, and Early Childhood Elementary Schools, as well as Koscuiszko Middle School and Hamtramck High School may be able to receive the free immunizations.
According to Sarah Peslar Wilson, a social worker at the health center, the Wayne County Department of Public Health has received “lots of reports of problems in Hamtramck” concerning doctors overcharging for care.
“Through the program, a doctor cannot charge anything for the vaccine,” she said, “and legally can only charge $16.75 per immunization for administrative costs. There are doctors in Hamtramck working with the VFC, and if they are involved in the program there is no legitimate reason for these exorbitant fees.”
If anyone feels they may have been overcharged, they are urged to call Kay Fradeneck of the Wayne County Department of Public Health at (734) 727-7068.
For more information on the program stop by the Hamtramck School-Based Health Center (located inside Hamtramck High School), visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc or call (313) 891-9473.