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Zack Hutchins
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December 23, 2002

Insurer's Web site offers information on update hospitals' performance records

Health-care consumers can use an upstate health insurer's Web site to compare the performance of different upstate hospitals in treating specific ailments or performing specific surgical procedures.

The new service has been introduced by Excellus Inc., a Rochester-based health insurer, and it is available from www.excellus.com.

Information available compares hospital performance in procedures from hip replacements to heart surgery and on treatment records for illnesses such as pneumonia.

At the Web site, consumers can create customized reports on how a group of hospitals performed, using a variety of measures. They can also see how many procedures their selected hospitals performed and get information on outcomes from many upstate hospitals.

The service includes information from the years 2000 and 2002, including performance measures from 63 hospitals in 32 upstate counties benchmarked against other upstate New York hospital data. Information on 20 different types of conditions and operations is provided, and some two dozen different measurements reflecting volume, mortality, and utilization are provided.

Information is available in plain English for lay persons and in medical terminology for health care providers.

The data is based on quality indicators that all hospitals in New York report to the state's Department of Health. The performance reports use software made available by the federal government's Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

"As the price of health care continues to soar, employers, employees, and all consumers need to know what they are paying for, and public hospital performance reports answer some of those questions," said Daniel B. Walsh, president/CEO of The Business Council."Beyond educating consumers, the goal of the reports is to raise the bar on the performance of all hospitals, so that employees experience better care."

Excellus Inc. is the parent of BlueCross BlueShield plans in Rochester, central New York, and the Utica-Watertown region. Excellus plans deliver health care to some 2.1 million upstate New Yorkers.