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Online Scorecard For Area Hospitals

Curious about the quality of medical care provided at Brooklyn’s hospitals? Then head on over to www.hospitals.nyhealth.gov. Launched by the state Health Department, the New York State Hospital Profile (NYSHP) website details treatments and procedures available at local hospitals and offers grades on their performance when met with common cases, including heart attack and pneumonia. By making such information available, health officials hope people will be better able to find a hospital they are comfortable with. “New York State is recognized as a national leader in providing the public with accurate and reliable health care information so that they can make well-informed decisions about their medical needs,” said State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello. “The NYSHP data will serve as a catalyst for patients to begin discussions with their doctors and hospital staff before undergoing specific procedures or treatments.” The public apparently agrees. The website received more than 1.1 million hits in just the four days after it was announced. “It is imperative that New York consumers make informed choices about their health care,” said Lois Aronstein, director of AARP New York State. With the new site, “Consumers now have access to vital information that will help them choose the right hospital to get the care they need.” Eventually, the site, which will be updated four times a year, will include data on complaints filed against hospitals and results from patient satisfaction surveys. Data on patient care has already been posted on the website for most hospitals in Brooklyn. When handling patients suffering from a heart attack, Coney Island Hospital, 2601 Ocean Parkway, provides the best treatment in the borough. For administering appropriate heart attack care, the hospital received a score of 99 percent. For appropriate heart failure care, the hospital was given a 92 percent rating. Hospital staffers were elated about all of the high scores (Coney Island also received a 96 percent score for providing appropriate care to patients with pneumonia). “Residents of southern Brooklyn who need care should feel secure in the knowledge that Coney Island Hospital achieved number one rankings for our treatment of heart attack and pneumonia patients. This is the best in New York City,” said Pete Wolf, Coney Island Hospital’s executive director. “I am proud that our emergency, cardiology and medicine departments are receiving recognition for their work in incorporating evidence-based medicine and best practices into their patient care.” When treating patients in heart failure, Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center is tops in Brooklyn. The hospital, located at 760 Broadway, received a 99 percent rating. For providing appropriate care when treating patients having a heart attack, the hospital earned a 98 percent rating. Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center reps did not return a call for comment by the time this paper went to press. Long Island College Hospital, 339 Hicks Street, earned a 98 percent rating for administering appropriate heart attack care. Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, located at Linden Boulevard at Brookdale Plaza, and Kings County Hospital Center, 451 Clarkson Avenue, both received ratings of 97 percent for providing appropriate heart attack care. Brookdale also received a 97 percent score for providing sufficient care when dealing with heart failure cases, as did Interfaith Medical Center at 1545 Atlantic Avenue. While University Hospital of Brooklyn, 445 Lenox Road, earned ratings of more than 90 percent for providing appropriate care in heart attack and heart failure cases, it’s mortality rates for children undergoing heart surgery and adults having bypass operations are both below average. Not all of Brooklyn’s hospitals fared well in the Internet ratings. Several received lackluster scores for their treatment of pneumonia cases. Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center at 585 Schenectady Avenue was given a grade of 79 percent, while Maimonides Medical Center, 4802 Tenth Avenue, received 74 percent, Beth Israel Medical Center, 3201 Kings Highway, received 73 percent, and New York Methodist Hospital at 506 Sixth Street earned 71 percent. Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, 374 Stockholm Street, received a 67 percent rating, New York Community Hospital of Brooklyn at 2525 Kings Highway earned 65 percent, and Brooklyn Hospital Center, 121 Dekalb Avenue, got 63 percent. While Victory Memorial Hospital, 9036 Seventh Avenue, received a 95 percent ranking for its treatment of patients having a heart attack, it earned just 53 percent for providing appropriate surgical infection prevention. Located at 150 55th Street, Lutheran Medical Center also received a less than glowing score for preventing surgical infections, with 48 percent. As all the scores on the new website are based on data collected since 2003, Neal Gorman, spokesperson for Lutheran Medical Center, said that the hospital has taken steps to prevent surgical infections. “Since the time the data was collected, we’ve put in place many focused efforts to improve in the areas where we didn’t meet the highest standard of care,” he explained. As a result, “Progress has been steady and dramatic.” “A surgical ‘Time Out’ program was implemented and includes a step that ensures that all patients receive antibiotic therapy within one hour of surgery. Since that implementation, Lutheran’s compliance rate rose to 98 percent, which places us well above the standard. Additionally, surgeons are now required to write their ‘24-hour stop antibiotic’ order prior to surgery. We are confident that has fixed the problem,” he continued. With these measures, “Lutheran’s surgical infection rate is extremely low. Of the slightly more than 6,000 surgical patients in 2005, only eight developed surgical site infections. That is .13 percent of all surgeries, which is low and very favorable when compared to other hospitals,” he added. In late 2005, Lutheran was named one of the country’s top performance improvement leaders in a study conducted by Solucient, a provider of health care information, Gorman said. Although local hospitals have welcomed the new website, they warn Brooklynites that the information posted on the site provides only a small snippet about the quality of care at each of the borough’s medical facilities. “We’re in favor of consumers having as much information as possible to encourage them to make good health care choices,” said Zipporah Dvash, spokesperson for Long Island College Hospital. “However…the information is limited in scope, it’s a snapshot in time, and shouldn’t be construed as a full representation of any particular hospital.” Visit www.hospitals.nyhealth.gov to check out all the scores for Brooklyn’s hospitals.

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