PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
March 19, 2012

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Performance Report Shows Hospital Quality Continues to Rise
Expanded Report Gives Consumers More Information in New Areas

The Department of Health and Senior Services today released New Jersey's 2011 Hospital Performance Report which demonstrates that hospital quality continues to improve in the state.  The report, which includes four new measures, also identifies opportunities for hospitals to enhance their performance.

"The report encourages hospitals to deliver the best patient care possible by highlighting performance," said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd. "It serves as a guide to the Department and individual hospitals by assessing current quality of care and areas for improvement."

The report scores hospitals in three general categories: Patient Safety, healthcare- associated infections and the percentage of time hospitals delivered the recommended treatment for specific health conditions.

"NJHA recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Institute for Quality and Patient Safety, and it's gratifying to see that the last decade has witnessed continuous improvement in the care our hospitals deliver to New Jersey residents," said NJHA President and CEO Betsy Ryan. "We're thrilled to see that New Jersey hospitals exceed their national counterparts in a majority of measures, but our focus will continue because the quest for better quality healthcare never stops."

The Department has added several new measures to this year's report.  Recognizing the large impact that healthcare-associated infections have on the health of patients, the Department expanded reporting to include three new healthcare-associated infection measures.

  • Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection
  • Surgical Site Infection after Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Surgery
  • Surgical Site Infection after Abdominal Hysterectomy

In addition, to those healthcare-associated infection measures, the Department also scored hospitals for the first time on the removal of urinary catheters the first or second day after surgery.

"Providing the public with this data offers insight on the quality of care delivered at New Jersey's hospitals," added Commissioner O'Dowd.  "This is another tool that residents can use to make informed health care choices for themselves and their families."

Recommended Care Measures for Specific Health Conditions

The report scores hospitals on how often they provide certain patients with a specific treatment that is nationally recognized as a best practice.  Heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and care of surgical patients are scored on 25 measures.  These include practices such as giving heart attack patients aspirin on arrival at the hospital to help reduce the severity of the attack.  Here are some report highlights:

 

  • Of the 25 recommended care measures, New Jersey hospital performance exceeded national scores on 15 of the measures and was equal to national norms on eight measures
  • Every hospital scored 93 or higher out of 100 on overall heart attack treatment
  • New Jersey continues to lag behind national scores on two measures:
    • Heart attack patients undergoing angioplasty - a procedure to open blocked blood vessels - within 90 minutes of hospital arrival. New Jersey scored an 89 and the national score is 91. New Jersey hospitals continue to show improvement in this area, improving 62% since 2006. 
    • Cardiac surgery patients whose blood sugar was under control after surgery. New Jersey scored 93 compared with the national rate of 94

The Department continues to collaborate with hospitals and the Department's Cardiovascular Health Advisory Panel to improve these scores.

Patient Safety

The report also compares hospitals on 12 measures called Patient Safety Indicators (PSI).  This section shows how well each hospital is providing safe patient care by examining the number of medical errors such as objects left inside patients during surgery.

"As the report shows, there is clearly more work to be done," said Commissioner O'Dowd. "The Department will continue to work with the hospital industry to eliminate all hospital errors."

Here are some highlights from the patient safety section of the report:

  • New Jersey exceeded the national average on 7 of the PSIs
  • New Jersey lagged the national average on 3 indicators: post-operative bleeding or blood clot, post-operative bloodstream infections and birth trauma to newborns

This is the second year that New Jersey hospitals performed below the national average on birth trauma to newborns. Hospital's results can be affected by differences in physician practice or inaccurate classification of these injuries.  In collaboration with the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA), the Department is working to share best practices among hospitals to reduce these occurrences.  The Department and the NJHA are encouraging hospitals to work closely with their clinical staffs to make sure these cases are being coded accurately. 

Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs)

HAIs are infections patients get while in a hospital or healthcare facility. The goal of reporting HAIs is to provide consumers with information and to encourage hospitals to prevent these serious infections.

The results for these HAIs are as follows:

  •  
    • For the second year, NJ hospitals had fewer Central Line-Associated Blood Stream (CLABSIs) infections than the national baseline-with 20% fewer CLABSI infections than expected
    • CABG infections in NJ for 2009 were similar to the CABG infections seen nationally
    • Abdominal Hysterectomy infections in NJ for 2009 were similar to the number of these infections seen nationally
    • Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI) in NJ were similar to the catheter-associated urinary tract infections seen nationally

The online Hospital Performance Report can be found on the DHSS web site at:

www.nj.gov/health/hpr