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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
August 30, 2007

Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Thomas Slater
609-984-7160


 
New Jersey Releases First Report on How State Hospitals Fare in Quality Care Measures


 

            The Department of Health and Senior Services has released its first report comparing New Jersey’s hospitals on 32 nationally recognized measures of quality care, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D., announced today.

 

“Inpatient Quality Indicators: New Jersey 2005,” includes hospital-specific scores as well as statewide and national comparisons.

 

New Jersey has a long and distinguished history of publicly reporting on the quality of health care in this state,” Commissioner Jacobs said.  “This latest report gives health professionals, policymakers and consumers one more tool they can use in making important health care decisions.”

 

The report analyzes hospital billing data for more than 1 million New Jersey hospital admissions using quality indicators chosen by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). AHRQ chose the indicators based on the strength of research showing the measure was related to health care quality.

 

Indicators include in-patient death rates for a variety of medical conditions and surgical procedures, such as heart attack, stroke, heart surgery and hip replacement.  There is also data on the numbers of specific procedures each hospital performed, where research shows that performing more procedures is associated with lower death rates.

 

In addition, the report examines how frequently hospitals perform procedures – such as Cesarean section births or minimally invasive gall bladder removal -- that can be overused, underused or misused.  Also included are county level utilization rates for common surgeries such as heart surgery or hysterectomy.  

 

            According to the report:

 

  • New Jersey’s statewide risk-adjusted surgical and medical death rates are generally in line with or better than the national average.
  • In most cases, there was no clear trend across an individual hospital’s scores. Most hospitals showed considerable variation, possibly due to data limitations.
  • A number of hospitals are performing fewer than the recommended number of certain surgical procedures, particularly some high-risk procedures.
  • Overutilization of Cesarean-section delivery continues to increase in the state, while vaginal births after C-section continue to decline.
  • In general, utilization rates vary considerably among hospitals and from county to county.

 

“Inpatient Quality Indicators” is the newest in a series of reports that includes Cardiac Surgery in New Jersey, Bariatric Surgery in New Jersey and the Hospital Performance Report.  Although the report released today is written for a more technical audience, it can also be useful to consumers and others doing health care research.

 

DHSS plans to publish additional quality indicator reports, possibly including some specifically for a consumer audience.  The next report will use a different AHRQ’s software module – Prevention Quality Indicators.  These indicators measure in-patient hospitalization that could have been avoided with timely, effective primary care.  For example, with effective primary care, many asthma-related hospitalizations can be avoided.

 

“Inpatient Quality indicators” is available on the DHSS web site at: www.nj.gov/health/healthcarequality.

 

 

 

 

             

 
 
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