State Health Department Announces $600,000 in Grant Awards as Part of its Statewide Patient Safety Initiative

ALBANY, March 12, 2004 — State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., today awarded a total of $600,000 in state grants to three hospitals and a community health center for their advancement of quality assurance measures and effective clinical practices to ensure that high quality health care is afforded to patients.

Dr. Novello presented the awards to Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center (Kings County), Geneva General Hospital (Ontario County), Bellevue Woman’s Hospital (Schenectady County) and the Morris Heights Health Center, Inc. (Bronx County) following today’s New York State Public Health Council meeting in New York City. The awards represent an important component of New York’s comprehensive statewide patient safety initiative to identify adverse incidents involving patients and to promote the development of additional quality assurance measures by hospital’s statewide.

"Governor Pataki has made access to quality, appropriate and safe health care a priority in New York State. New York has the finest health care system, with many of the nation’s best doctors, health care workers and health care facilities," Dr. Novello said. "Today’s funding builds on the Governor’s commitment to ensuring access to quality health care for all New Yorkers and fosters the advancement of critical health care measures to reduce medical errors."

In its third year of funding, the Patient Safety Awards program recognizes those health care facilities that have developed innovative patient safety measures. The health care facilities that receive the awards are committed to working with the State Health Department on an ongoing basis to develop and promote ways to further improve patient safety.

Today’s funding will support the following initiatives:

  • Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center ($200,000) - Implemented and enhanced infection control policies and protocols to reduce patient risk to central venous catheter-related bloodstream infections. The program emphasizes increased education and awareness to reduce the risk of infection, as wells as the importance of cleanliness during insertion and maintenance of the patient’s catheter during the hospital stay.
  • Geneva General Hospital ($100,000) - Established and refined protocols to require testing and profiles of the lipid levels in patients receiving care in the emergency department for heart attacks (acute myocardial infarction). Statistics show that a decrease in lipid levels through monitoring and management may reduce one’s risk to recurring heart attacks.
  • Bellevue Woman’s Hospital ($100,000) - Created a comprehensive prenatal case management and incentive program to identify and assess women for potential high-risk pregnancies. The program promotes healthy lifestyle for woman participating in the case management program and includes access to educational materials on child bearing, referrals to employment services, access to mental health services, and alcohol and substance abuse counseling. Since the program’s inception in 1999 there have been no infant deaths or pregnancy terminations involving participating women.
  • Morris Heights Health Center ($200,000) - Developed an Advanced Access Program that ensures patient access to primary care physicians for all visits and delivery of services tailored to the needs of each and every patient. The program includes strengthened triage and assessment policies that have led to improved patient care.

As part of today’s awards ceremony, Dr. Novello also presented certificates of recognition to New York Presbyterian Hospital (New York County), University Hospital of Syracuse (Onondaga County) and the William F. Ryan Community Health Center (New York County) for their advancement of patient safety initiatives. The three health care facilities were recognized for the following:

  • New York-Presbyterian Hospital - Implemented a comprehensive patient triage, assessment and care plan program that significantly reduced the waiting time in the hospital’s emergency department in 2003. The program includes the creation of a quality performance center in coordination with the hospital’s medical board to improve the efficiency of patient care, admissions and discharges.
  • University Hospital of Syracuse, Health and Science Center — Refined the hospital’s system for reporting adverse patient incidents, emphasizing quality assurance review of medication errors. As part of the initiative, the hospital implemented a state-of-the-art database system that links the pharmacy with the clinical laboratory to better ensure that patients are properly assessed for potential drug interactions and that they receive appropriate and timely prescriptions.
  • William F. Ryan Community Health Center - Instituted an interdisciplinary program to further improve the center’s treatment of patients with histories of depression and/or chronic disease, such as diabetes. The program includes one on one educational classes for patients with licensed nursing personnel, development of comprehensive care plans to help patients better manage their conditions, and increased home care visits for patients with chronic health and mental health conditions.

Center for Consumer Health Information

In 2001, Governor Pataki directed the New York State Health Department to establish a Web-based Center for Consumer Health Information which contains vital information about a variety of health-related topics of importance to New Yorkers, including:

  • Physician Profiles;
  • Surveillance of health care facilities;
  • Managed care performance;
  • Cardiac surgery reports;
  • Nurse aide registry;
  • Medicaid fraud; and
  • How to file complaints.

The Center for Consumer Health Information includes valuable links to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO) and its Sentinel Event Alert Newsletter, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the AARP Research Center, to name a few.