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PeaceHealth and Lane County Public Health work together to reduce pneumonia’s toll in Lane County

June 25, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – PeaceHealth is partnering with Lane County Public Health on a new pneumonia vaccine initiative that aims to improve local patients’ health, and the community’s health, while reducing medical costs.

On June 20, PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Centers at RiverBend and University District began offering pneumonia vaccinations to certain high-risk patients before they were discharged from the hospital. This vaccination initiative is funded by a Lane County Public Health grant and a PeaceHealth Community Health donation, which pays for the vaccine and to station a county employee at RiverBend.

“Working together, PeaceHealth and Lane County Public Health aim to reduce the toll pneumonia takes in this community by vaccinating high-risk patients before they leave the hospital,” said Susan Blane, community health director for the PeaceHealth Oregon network. 

“Bacterial pneumonia is a significant cause of preventable illness and death nationwide and in Lane County,” said Lane County Senior Health Officer, Dr. Patrick Luedtke. “We are fortunate to have an effective vaccine to address this serious condition; but up until now it has been underutilized, making this program a much needed resource for our community.” 

Pneumonia is a leading cause of hospitalization and death of adults in the United States. In a typical year, nearly 1 million U.S. adults get pneumococcal pneumonia, 400,000 are hospitalized and 5-7 percent of the adults who contract it die.

Under the new pneumonia initiative, vaccinations will be offered to all hospital patients age 65 and older and patients 19-64 who are at high risk for pneumonia, such as cigarette smokers, people with diabetes and people with chronic heart, liver or lung disease.

A Lane County employee will be stationed at RiverBend and report to the RiverBend pharmacy manager. The Lane County employee will check the daily census at RiverBend and University District to identify candidates for the vaccine for Streptococcus pneumoniae, the bacterium responsible for most adult cases of pneumonia.

The Lane County employee will track the number of vaccinations and work with the RiverBend Infectious Disease team to assess the number of hospital readmissions for pneumococcal pneumonia. 

This vaccination initiative is just one of dozens of programs in Lane County that PeaceHealth Community Health helps fund each year, including transitional housing for behavioral health patients, community health workers, school-based health centers and safe installation of children’s car seats. PeaceHealth Community Health estimates it will make cash and in-kind donations worth over $1 million to these programs in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018.

About PeaceHealth: PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. PeaceHealth has approximately 16,000 caregivers, a group practice with more than 900 providers and 10 medical centers serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Northwest. In 1890, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace founded what has become PeaceHealth. The Sisters shared expertise and transferred wisdom from one medical center to another, always finding the best way to serve the unmet need for healthcare in their communities. Today, PeaceHealth is the legacy of the founding Sisters and continues with a spirit of respect, stewardship, collaboration and social justice in fulfilling its Mission. Visit us online at

About Lane County Public Health: Lane County Public Health is a division of Lane County Health & Human Services and works to promote and protect the health and well-being of all people in Lane County. Visit us online at