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HMOs in NY, NJ measure above average

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A news item on reports that HMOs in New York and New Jersey stack up well against national averages in patient satisfaction and other measures, but the level of care varies widely both within and between counties, according to a health care report card released Thursday.

The New York State Health Accountability Foundation rated health maintenance organizations in both states, and hospitals just in New York. Data on New Jersey hospitals will be added in the future. The scores are posted at Scores are broken down by county and provide a comparison between the health care services in a given area.

The report card rates HMOs by measures including use of imaging studies for low back pain; follow-up after hospitalization for mental illness; and numbers of board-certified physicians in a network. Data for hospitals includes average stay; average cost; and average Medicaid reimbursement for a range of procedures and conditions.

A comparison of hospitals charges data on the report card shows there are a number of disparites in this area, for example, an asthma patient at Long Island College Hospital was charged an average of $12,430 after being hospitalized for a few days, while an asthma patient at Coney Island Hospital was charged an average of $5,911.

Laurel Pickering, executive director of the New York Business Group on Health, said there was a need to get the data out there in the public to start the conversation whereby hospitals explain these disparities.

The report card is intended primarily for employers but is available to consumers as well.

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