Governor Paterson's EmpireStat Initiative Features Updated Statistics on Immunizations, Lead Testing, and Physician Discipline

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 22, 2010) - New York State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., announced that data on the activities of four State Department of Health (DOH) programs are now available on a new Web-based state system, EmpireStat, that will provide ongoing public access to statistics and performance measurements of state agency programs.

"EmpireStat: Running State Government by the Numbers" was initiated by Governor David A. Paterson to improve the management and accountability of state agencies and their programs. EmpireStat will use data systems, information technology services, and improved communication to monitor individual programs to ensure they are operating efficiently and meeting high-performance goals.

"Many of the health care programs we administer directly affect individuals and communities, and we are committed to the highest standards in serving New Yorkers," Commissioner Daines said. "EmpireStat will be a useful tool in monitoring program performance and our progress toward meeting individual program goals. During these tough fiscal times, we know we must use our resources wisely and productively, and EmpireStat will help us achieve this objective."

DOH data available on EmpireStat include

Immunization Data

Immunizations are the most successful and cost-effective method of preventing disease and often death. EmpireStat includes information on the percentage of children under 6 who have two or more immunizations recorded in New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS), as well as data on health care provider participation in reporting immunizations to NYSIIS.

DOH tracks this information to improve immunization coverage and keep children healthy. NYSIIS maintains a consolidated, Web-based immunization record for all state residents outside New York City. Through February 2010, 76.7 percent of children less than six years of age have two or more immunizations recorded in NYSIIS. Also through February 2010, 84 percent of providers are participating in NYSIIS. The State's goal by the end of 2010 is to have 95 percent of New York children outside New York City and under 6 years old have two or more immunizations recorded in NYSIIS and increase health care provider participation to 90 percent.

Lead Poisoning Prevention Data

All children in New York State are required by law to have their blood tested for lead exposure at or around ages 1 and 2. In EmpireStat, data on the number of children who have been tested is broken down by these age groups.

DOH is dedicated to improving lead testing rates to ensure that children with lead poisoning are identified at the earliest possible age and receive appropriate treatment. Early identification can help prevent further exposure and assure prompt treatment.

The graphs posted on EmpireStat, which will be updated monthly, will show the baseline rates from 2009 and progress toward increasing testing rates to at least 75 percent for children around 1 year old and 65 percent for children around 2 years old by the end of 2010.

In addition, DOH is expanding a lead poisoning primary prevention initiative that started in 2007. This program identified "communities of concern" that are home to 80 percent of children with elevated blood lead levels. Using this information, the State is providing funding to 14 county health departments and New York City to identify, inspect and remediate lead-based paint hazards in high-risk housing units within these communities.

EmpireStat includes data on the number of lead-based paint inspections completed each month at newly targeted residential housing units. As state funding for the inspection program has increased, local health departments have increased the number of inspections to identify and ensure correction of lead-based paint hazards. The State's goal is to increase the number of inspections conducted in 2010 by 30 percent over the previous year. Governor Paterson has proposed increasing the funding from $7.1 million in 2009-10 to $8.3 million in 2010-11.

Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Data

Medicaid provides health care coverage to 4.6 million low-income New Yorkers. On an annual basis, the program receives 437 million claims and pays out more than $44 billion.

The Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) is an independent entity within DOH that searches for fraud, waste and abuse in the program. OMIG works to preserve the integrity of New York Medicaid by preventing improper payments from being made and recovering inappropriate payments to providers. Under EmpireStat, the following information about Medicaid fraud and abuse will be posted:

  • Medicaid audits, including the number initiated and finalized, as well as the findings and cost recovery amounts;
  • Investigations, the number opened and closed per quarter, also broken down by the type of investigation (e.g., provider, enrollment, recipient, hotline call; and
  • Cost savings, broken down by categories such as Medicaid edits, which involves the use a claims processing system to check the accuracy of the claim information and to determine whether the claim should be paid.

Physician Discipline Data

Public Health Law requires the DOH's Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) to review every complaint it receives. OPMC's goal is to conduct its review and initiate action, such as an investigation and/or referral to another agency, in a timely manner. This will ensure that the complaint is addressed quickly and thoroughly.

In 2009, OPMC initiated action within 10 days of receiving a complaint 91 percent of the time. EmpireStat will include monthly reports on the number of complaints OPMC receives and the number of actions initiated within 10 days. OPMC is committed to increasing its 10-day response rate to 94 percent by the end of 2010.

DOH data and information from other State agencies will be posted on the EmpireStat page on the Governor's Office of Taxpayer Accountability website at www.Taxpayer.ny.gov. Additional information about individual DOH's programs can be found at www.nyhealth.gov.