Vfc program's storage fridge/freezer requirement 3-31-23

Good morning all and Happy New Year!

Looking for feedback from practices that participate in the VFC program and still using non-medical grade storage fridge/freezer combo. We received an email stating that effective 3-31-23, we must comply with the change to medical grade storage units (s) or no longer receiver vaccine shipments for our patients. We are a rural, private office practice with soon to be down to 1 provider…

Is there going to be any subsidy? When will vaccine administration fees going to reflect the actual costs/work RVUs as allowed with the per antigen (90460/90461)? We’ve been asking this at our annual recertifications and periodic office reviews and no answers to date, now less than 3 months to not only find a specified unit(s) to fit in a space in our office unit that was built around the satisfactory fridge/freezer combination unit at that time. Oh yeah, a capital expenditure in 2023 while paying down EIDL. Considering dropping out of VFC program…

Any comments/recommendations? Thanks in advance!

  1. The bill sponsored by Kim Schrier that would provide you with both a fridge stipend and proper payment for your admins was effectively stopped by (imo) an erroneous analysis by the GAO. The bill and the concepts aren’t dead, but they aren’t going to beat your April deadline, that’s for sure.

  2. You really should use a medical/commercial grade fridge with your vaccines, VFC or no. Even as a solo practice, a few hundred grand of vaccine flows through it every year. You want the best fridge, with a full on alert system (i.e., one that calls you with any temp excursion or power issue).

I certainly agree that the burden to provide VFC is a big one. You may wish to see how they react when you tell them that you will no longer participate. Perhaps there is leeway there, perhaps not. I would also be concerned about your local program being retributive - I’ve seen it happen.

Good luck.


Happy New Year and thanks!

“You may wish to see how they react when you tell them that you will no longer participate”-right now, this is how I’m leaning!

I have a similar situation. I bought an apartment size refrigerator 15.6 cubic with separate compartments for freezer and refrigerator BUT only use the refrigerator section for the vaccines since there are not separate compressors for the freezer and refrigerator. Then I bought a Danby 3.1 cubic refrig. and freezer which fits undercounter and ONLY use the freezer section. I store all the vaccine extra freezer packs in the unused space in both units. The two units are much cheaper than a lab style refrig and freezer and are more practical for a rural smaller office. I bought Fridge-tag 2L for the freezer and the refrigerator FridgeTag 2L Vaccine Monitor for VFC - Fridge Version (microdaq.com). They are calibrated and accurate. You can download 30 days of temps max, min and average temps, and it records any temperature excursions. They only have auditory and visual alerts, so you do have to pay attention. They will not connect to your cell phone,…but for a small practice it seems a reasonable solution to me. I have about 3000 patients in my practice so we do go through a fair amount of VFC and private vaccinations each month.

I hope this is helpful.

Amazing and appreciated! Thanks for the link as well. Happier Friday!

Is this a state specific requirement? I did not see anything on the DCD site about it. we recently had our annual VFC audits at several of our locations in VA and nothing was mentioned. Did they happen to include a link in the email of the requirement for additional details?

Maryland VFC Program new requirement.