Commissioner Novello Announces New York State Hospital Profile, Now On-line at www.nyhealth.gov

Profile Highlights Key Hospital Quality Measures, Treatments for Patient Conditions

State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D.,M.P.H.,Dr. P.H. at a press conference in Albany launching the New York State Hospital Profile web site. State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D.,M.P.H.,Dr. P.H. at a press conference in Albany launching the New York State Hospital Profile web site.

ALBANY, NY, January 19, 2006 -- State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D. M.P.H., Dr.P.H., today at a press conference in Albany unveiled the New York State Hospital Profile (NYSHP) web site, which highlights key hospital quality measures and treatments for specific patient conditions. To ensure that the public has access to reliable information, the NYSHP data will be updated quarterly for all 239 hospitals statewide.

Dr. Novello was joined at today's announcement by representatives of AARP; the New York Public Interest Research Group; the Healthcare Association of New York State, the Iroquois Health Care Alliance, the New York Health Plan Association, the Medical Society of the State of New York, and Greater New York Hospital Association. In addition to these organizations, the Center for Medical Consumers provided valuable feedback in the creation of the new hospital profile. The data is now publicly available on the Department's web site: www.health.ny.gov.

"New York State is recognized as a national leader in providing the public with accurate and reliable health care information so that they can make well-informed decisions about their medical needs," Dr. Novello said. "Under Governor Pataki's direction, the NYSHP data will serve as a catalyst for patients to begin discussions with their doctors and hospital staff before undergoing specific procedures or treatments."

The web site's search capabilities allow consumers to review hospital data by health condition, surgical procedure or special state designation - such as a stroke or burn center. The web site includes information on four health conditions, including care related to heart attacks, heart failure, pneumonia and prevention of surgical infections and up to 20 related services. The data includes the latest hospital-reported information to CMS through March 2005.

The hospital profile also highlights risk-adjusted surgical outcomes on adult cardiac bypass and valve surgery, as well as angioplasty procedures and pediatric-specific heart surgery statewide. The information on cardiac data includes hospital-reported data through December 2003.

The Department's new web site will eventually include additional measures and features, including summaries of hospital complaint and citation data, hospital-acquired infection rates, pediatric-specific services and results from patient satisfaction surveys.

Dr. Novello said, "Although approximately three-quarters of the households in the United States have direct access to the internet, we are cognizant of the fact that not every person has this capability. To address this issue, the Department is working with the 760 public libraries across the state to get the message out that this information is available and can be viewed at the local library."

Experience has shown that since the Department began posting health plan quality measurement data, the delivery of care for patients in managed care has shown improvements. For example, the Department's 2005 eQARR managed care report found that more patients enrolled in health plans are satisfied with the care they receive from doctors; more pregnant women are accessing prenatal care; and a higher number of patients with diabetes are accessing comprehensive care from physicians to help them better manage and control their chronic illness.

It's important to note that hospitals are constantly strengthening the delivery of care through their quality assurance programs. Hospitals are also using the data in these profiles to improve their performance. In fact, as a result of reviewing this data, many hospitals have already instituted improvements in specific areas of care.

Arthur Levin MPH, Director, Center for Medical Consumers said, "The new Hospital Profile web site provides the public with a user-friendly way to access important information about New York's hospitals. There is still much work to be done and the Department is to be commended for acknowledging this. I am pleased that the Department has committed to updating the hospital profile web site."

"It is imperative that New York consumers make informed choices about their health care. With the State Health Department's new web site profiling New York hospitals, consumers now have access to vital information that will help them choose the right hospital to get the care they need," said Lois Aronstein, AARP New York State Director.

Blair Horner, Legislative Director for the N.Y. Public Interest Research Group said, "The Health Department's hospital profile system - combined with its doctor profiles -- allows consumers easy access to critical health information. NYPIRG supports this new effort. We also applaud the recognition by the Department that this is a work in progress.  The Department's promise of adding more health information as it becomes available and a commitment to a strong public education effort will further enhance the usefulness of the profile system to consumers."

Similar to the State's Physician Profile web site, which received over eleven million hits in 2005, the NYSHP web site allows visitors to easily find data on hospitals of their choice. This is simply done by clicking on the state map, selecting any region or county in the state, or choosing a hospital through a search feature.

Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) President Dan Sisto said, "New York State's hospitals are constantly looking for new ways to improve the quality of patient care. From providing continuing education to the active sharing of best practices and techniques, no professional community does more to enhance their ability to serve the public. We commend the State Health Department for providing patients and families with a new consumer-friendly tool to help us with that always-evolving effort."

"The Greater New York Hospital Association appreciates the collegial spirit the State Health Department has demonstrated in developing this profile, and we look forward to helping ensure that it will be as useful and accurate as possible," said GNYHA President Kenneth E. Raske. "We believe it will be an efficient tool for consumers and policymakers alike, and we applaud Commissioner Novello and her staff for their excellent work."

"The New York State Department of Health has created an up-to-date and user-friendly hospital information web site," said Gary J. Fitzgerald, president of the Iroquois Healthcare Alliance. "Recently, consumers, patients and their families have been bombarded with hospital information and health care data. This new web site provides a single site with useful and current hospital information for New Yorkers."

"Consumers have had access to health plan report cards for years," said Paul Macielak, President and CEO of the New York Health Plan Association Council, Inc.  "Having similar information about hospitals in New York is immensely beneficial for New Yorkers.  For consumers to make the best decisions about their health care, there needs to be information about all segments of the health care system."

"The Medical Society of the State of New York applauds the efforts of the New York State Department of Health, HANYS, GNYHA and patient advocacy organizations in working together to simplify patient access to meaningful and accurate hospital information," stated Gerald L. Conway, Esq., Senior VP/General Counsel for the Medical Society of the State of New York.

To access NYSHP and available data please visit the Department's web site at: www.nyhealth.gov.