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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
December 28, 2007

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

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


 
DHSS adopts federal standards for reporting data


 

New Jersey has adopted a federal hospital data-reporting standard that gives policymakers important new information on the four million in-patient admissions and out-patient visits to general acute care hospitals each year, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D., announced today.

         

          Working in cooperation with hospitals statewide, the Department of Health and Senior Services will begin collecting hospital admissions and patient visit data on January 1 using a new standard required by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

 

          Commissioner Jacobs signed an Executive Order on December 20 that mandates hospitals to report data on a patient’s race and ethnicity, primary language spoken as well as  medical problems when admitted and discharged. The Department has also developed a template for collecting and reporting data that is consistent with federal reporting standards.

 

          “This data helps us ask important questions about our state’s health care system and the health of our diverse populations.  It will certainly help us measure our progress as we continue to implement our strategic plan to improve the health of minority communities,” Dr. Jacobs said. “The state’s hospitals and the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) have done excellent work making the transition to this new data reporting system.

 

          "NJHA appreciates the opportunity to work with the Department in developing this new data collection system, and we look forward to ongoing collaboration as we continually refine this information,” said NJHA President and CEO Gary Carter.  “This data is a valuable part of hospitals' efforts to improve the care they provide to New Jersey residents."

 

The Department worked with four hospitals – Community Medical Center, Saint Barnabas Medical Center, Trinitas Hospital, and The Valley Hospital -- to pilot-test data reporting based on a new version of the national standard hospital billing form.

 

Hospitals use this uniform bill, called the UB-04, to submit payment claims to Medicare, Medicaid, or commercial insurers.  The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services required hospitals to start using the UB-04 for billing purposes last May.  New Jersey’s hospitals have met that deadline.

 

The billing form is also an important source of research data.  Many states, including New Jersey, collect billing data from all acute-care hospitals.  New Jersey hospitals have reported this data since the early 1980s.

 

Currently, DHSS collects data on four million admissions or visits a year -- 1.2 million in-patient admissions, 2.4 million emergency room visits and 400,000 same-day surgery visits.  This includes demographic data on patients, admission and discharge dates, and information on insurance coverage, medical condition and diagnoses, and procedures performed at the hospital.

 

The data are frequently used by academic researchers, government officials, payers, journalists, consultants and others.  DHSS protects patient privacy by removing identifying information, unless the research project is approved through the department’s Human Research Ethics Program.

The data are also used to support DHSS’ research and public health surveillance.  For example, the Department uses the data to track the incidence of asthma, diabetes, pregnancy complications, and cases of children hospitalized for potentially avoidable medical conditions.  It was also used to develop and update two DHSS reports -- Bariatric Surgery in New Jersey, and Inpatient Quality Indicators in New Jersey.

 

Among other changes, the new uniform bill:

 

·         Tracks whether patients speak any one of 65 primary languages;

·         Collects more information on infections and other conditions a patient may have when admitted;

·         Provides more clinical information, allowing a provider to note up to 25 different diagnoses for a patient; and

·         Offers expanded choices on patient race, including several multiracial choices, and more clearly defined Hispanic ethnicity categories.

 

UB data is available from the Department on CD for $5 for each year of data.  For more information, visit the department’s web page, Hospital Patient Discharge Data: Procedures for Release of Data, at http://www.state.nj.us/health/healthcarequality/ub/ub92intro.shtml.

 

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