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Zack Hutchins
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January 2, 2003

Hospital 'report card' offers free information about health-care quality at New York's hospitals

The Alliance For Quality Health Care (AQHC) has issued the first-ever New York State Hospital Quality Indicators Report Card for hospitals statewide. The report card is an independent source of information for consumers and community leaders concerned about health care quality and value.

The report is intended to help patients find high-quality care for 25 specific inpatient hospital procedures/conditions. Taken together, these procedures/conditions make up more than half of hospitals' cases.

Hospital CEOs across New York have confidential access to precisely the same reports about their own hospital. This Web site gives consumers and policy leaders access to the same information for every hospital in the state. The goal is to give consumers better choices and to foster more collaboration among hospitals to improve quality state-wide.

Based on data from more than 550,000 inpatient cases during 2001, the report utilizes a simple star rating to help patients select a hospital for treatment. A one-star rating for a hospital indicates that mortality for that condition/procedure was significantly higher than New York's statewide average. A two-star rating indicates an average mortality rate. Three stars indicates that mortality is significantly lower (i.e., better) than New York State's state-wide hospital average.

The 550,000 plus cases analyzed by the AQHC were adjusted for severity so that hospitals with sicker patients could be fairly compared with hospitals whose patients are not as sick. The methodology was developed by the federal government's Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Patients are advised to use these data as a starting point in discussions with their physician and others who may be advising them on where to seek care.