Four New York Health Plans Rated in the Top Ten Nationally for Excellence

ALBANY, NY, December 29, 2004 -- State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., today announced that four managed care plans in New York State have been nationally recognized by The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) demonstrating the effectiveness of health plans participating in Medicaid to ensure access to quality health care and services for New Yorkers.

"I applaud the four New York health plans recognized by The National Committee for Quality Assurance for providing patients with the quality health care," said State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H. "New York is a national leader in advancing patient access to primary and preventive care through managed care and for providing the most comprehensive information on how managed care plans perform so that New Yorkers can make better informed health care decisions."

Four New York managed health care plans received NCQA's "Top 10" national ranking for managed care plans. Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield serving the Rochester Region was recognized for both their Medicare and Medicaid healthcare plans. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York and Blue Shield of Northeastern New York were recognized for their Medicaid plans and the Rochester Area Health Maintenance Organization Preferred Care was recognized for their Medicare plan.

Over the past decade, all Medicaid plans in New York State have been required to report their performance results publicly. Improving health plan quality performance is a collaborative process advanced jointly between the Department and health plans committed to ensuring access to quality health care and plan services to members. The Department and the health plans work together to identify areas where the quality of care can be improved and the specific strategies needed to achieve improvement.

The Electronic Quality Assurance Results Reports or eQARR is an interactive report card designed to help consumers evaluate the managed care health plans in New York. This is another tool to help New York's healthcare consumers get accurate, up-to-date health plan information, including enrollee satisfaction ratings.

Please visit the Department's website for more information on New York's health plans at: www.health.ny.gov. Information about Medicare managed care and the health plans is available on the U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services web site, at: www.medicare.gov/default.aspx