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For Release:
September 21, 2006

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

For Further Information Contact:
Marilyn Riley
(609) 984-7160

Performance Report Shows Hospital Quality Scores Continue to Rise: Expanded Report Gives Consumers More Information, Both in Print and on the Web


PRINCETON -- New Jersey’s hospital quality scores continued to rise and surpass national norms in nearly all measures last year, according to the third Hospital Performance Report released today by Health and Senior Services Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.

New Jersey 2006 Hospital Performance Report features expanded information on heart attack and pneumonia care, and for the first time includes hospital performance in treating congestive heart failure. 

Released at a press conference at the University Medical Center at Princeton, the report shows how often 81 hospitals used widely recognized best practices in treatment.  These tests and treatments – such as quickly giving aspirin to heart attack patients – are considered the nationally recognized standard of care.

“Over the last three years, hospitals overall have made substantial gains in performance. In fact, they’ve improved dramatically in some areas, such as caring for pneumonia patients,” the Commissioner said.  “But we need to make sure every patient receives high-quality care.

“I have traveled the state, visiting the vast majority of New Jersey hospitals. I met with medical staffs, talked about their hospital’s performance and how they can do better,” he added.  “Our department also has programs that work directly with hospitals to improve patient care.”

Other highlights based on this year’s report:

  • The state’s low-performing hospitals continued to improve faster than higher-performing hospitals.  The gap between low- and high-performers is narrowing.
  • New Jersey exceeded national norms on the new congestive heart failure measures.
  • This year’s report is expanded to add five more heart attack and pneumonia treatment measures for a more comprehensive view of patient care.
  • For the first time, the web-based report allows consumers to view three-year performance data for each hospital.
  • Next year’s report will be expanded to add measures on preventing surgical infections.

According to the report, New Jersey improved its overall score for heart attack care to 96 in 2005, compared with 93 in 2004, and 91 in 2003. The overall pneumonia care score rose to 88, from 83 the previous year and 75 in the first report.  Over three years, New Jersey has raised its scores in all eight heart attack and pneumonia measures included in the three reports.

From 2003 to 2005, hospitals made the greatest gains where their scores had been lowest.  Scores rose from 48 to 80 (a 67 percent increase) on screening patients for pneumococcal vaccination and immunizing them if necessary, and from 65 to 81 (a 25 percent increase) on administering antibiotics within four hours of arrival.

When New Jersey’s 2005 scores are compared with national norms, the state did better on 14 measures and the same on two.  New Jersey’s score was lower on the percentage of heart attack patients undergoing angioplasty within 120 minutes to open blocked blood vessels.

For detailed information on scores and trends, visit the department’s web site at to view the report and data comparison charts.

“By providing detailed information on each hospital, New Jersey’s performance report helps us all deliver better care to the patients we serve,” said Pamela Allen, R.Ph., Corporate Director of Pharmacy and Chief Pharmacy Officer at St. Barnabas Healthcare System.  Hospitals around the state have been working to identify, and then put in place, best practices that will help them improve patient care and increase patient safety.”

Ms. Allen is co-chair of the department’s Quality Improvement Advisory Committee, which advises the department on quality issues.  The 25-member panel includes hospital, physician, nurse, pharmacist, university, payer and consumer representatives.

DHSS has been working with hospitals on initiatives to improve quality.

With funding from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, the department, the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy, and the New Jersey Hospital Association are working with 14 hospitals to improve congestive heart failure treatment.  Hospitals have attended training sessions, participated in conference calls, and will meet again this fall to discuss best practices.  Another DHSS initiative involves six hospitals focusing on pneumonia treatment.

Both web-based and print versions of the performance report have information on heart attack, pneumonia and congestive heart failure and their treatment, as well as sections on consumer rights and responsibilities, and health care resources in New Jersey.

On the web, interactive features allow consumers to select hospitals and create charts comparing their performance in 2005, or make comparisons by county and region.  Users may also view charts with each hospital’s three-year performance data.   

For a copy of the report, write the Office of the Commissioner, Health Care Quality Assessment, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, P.O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360, or call (800) 418-1397.  View the on-line report at

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