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North Shore-LIJ Health System Begins Online Posting of Hospital Infection Rates, Other Performance Information

Becomes NY's 2nd healthcare provider to publicly release quality data as

part of bold effort to improve patient safety

GREAT NECK, N.Y., Oct. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of a far- reaching effort to enhance patient safety, strengthen accountability and improve quality of care, the North Shore-LIJ Health System announced today that it has started to publicly disclose infection rates at 10 of its hospitals on Long Island, Queens and Staten Island, NY.

One of the nation's largest health systems with $4.5 billion in annual revenues, North Shore-LIJ is New York State's first non-public hospital to publicly report information on the prevalence of infections at its hospitals. The information is posted on North Shore-LIJ's new quality website, accessible at The site also includes information on its hospitals' performance in treating patients for heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia, as well as their success in performing cardiac bypass and joint replacement surgeries.

"For far too long, hospitals and other healthcare providers have operated in a vacuum in interacting with the public," said Michael J. Dowling, president and chief executive officer of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, the nation's third-largest, non-profit healthcare provider. "The more information made available to the public on how well hospitals perform, the more transparent the healthcare system becomes to consumers -- and that's a good thing because greater scrutiny will produce improvements in the quality of care."

The Web site includes three years of data for 10 North Shore-LIJ hospitals on five common healthcare-related infections:

-- Ventilator-associated pneumonia: Some hospitalized patients are placed

on a ventilator to help them breathe, increasing their risk of

acquiring an infection known as ventilator associated pneumonia.

-- Bloodstream infections caused by a catheter: Central lines, or

catheters, are used to deliver medications in patients being treated

in intensive care units (ICUs). Usually placed in a large vein in the

upper chest, neck or groin, a central line is needed to manage an

illness or disease, but it can lead to an infection.

-- Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) -- more commonly

known as a resistant "staph" infection: MRSA is a bacteria that

frequently resides in the nose or on the skin of healthy and ill

individuals. If the bacteria enters the body, an infection can occur.

-- Surgical site infections: In most surgical procedures, an incision is

made to gain entry under the skin, breaking the body's first line of

defense against infection and increasing the risk of an infection.

-- Clostridium difficile: C.difficile is a type of bacteria that can

cause stomach discomfort. It grows in the large bowel (colon) and

makes a substance that can cause diarrhea. C.difficile also produces

spores that can be found on toilet seats or other places touched by

unwashed hands.

Hospitals already report hospital-acquired infections to the New York State Department of Health, which the state will begin to publicly report in 2009.

"Our efforts at public reporting are aimed at building trust with patients and reinforcing the message that quality is a continuous work in progress," said Lawrence G. Smith, MD, chief medical officer of the North Shore-LIJ Health System. "On this new Web site, we're comfortable sharing information with the public about those areas where we are strong as well as those areas where we need to do better. It's all part of our commitment to continuous improvement."

Mr. Dowling said North Shore-LIJ decided to start reporting the information voluntarily because he believes the healthcare industry needs to be more open with the public in sharing information and educating consumers. "Healthcare providers need to be more proactive in working with patients and families to help prevent infections and medical errors, and encouraging consumers to ask the right questions of their physicians and nurses," he said.

North Shore-LIJ has been recognized for the aggressive steps it has taken to reduce hospital-acquired infections, receiving the Healthcare Association of New York's (HANYS) prestigious Pinnacle Award in 2006. The health system is also an active participate in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's (IHI) 5 Million Lives campaign, a national effort aimed at reducing preventable deaths and patient harm that occur in hospitals. The severity of the problem was highlighted in 1999, when the Institute of Medicine published an alarming report estimating that nearly 100,000 patients die every year due to medical errors and hospital-acquired infections. In addition to the IHI initiative, North Shore-LIJ is collaborating with the Greater New York Hospital Association to outline and implement infection prevention measures to decrease central line-related infections and C.difficile.

Joseph Conte, North Shore-LIJ's senior vice president of quality management, said more quality data will be added to the new Web site in the months ahead, including near misses -- errors that were prevented from reaching the patient because of built-in safety systems. In addition, North Shore-LIJ will be posting the patient satisfaction scores of its hospitals prior to the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) scheduled release of that information to the public in March 2008.

"Without a doubt, transparency is one of the future drivers of quality," said Mr. Conte, noting that the death rate among patients undergoing open- heart surgery has dropped by more than 80 percent since 1989, when the state began posting the risk-adjusted mortality rates of hospitals and physicians performing coronary artery bypass surgery.

North Shore-LIJ's quality Web site includes a wide range of performance- related data, including measurements showing how its hospitals are adhering to national standards for treating heart attacks, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical patients, and how they compare to the statewide average in New York. Data is available for the following hospitals within the North Shore-LIJ Health System: Forest Hills Hospital, Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream, Glen Cove Hospital, Huntington Hospital, LIJ Medical Center, North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, Plainview Hospital, Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, Staten Island University Hospital and Syosset Hospital.

To date, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation is the only other healthcare provider in New York State that is reporting healthcare- associated infection rates.

About North Shore-LIJ Health System

The nation's third largest, non-profit, secular healthcare system, the North Shore-LIJ Health System cares for people of all ages throughout Long Island, Queens and Staten Island -- a service area encompassing more than five million people. Including its clinical affiliates, the health system consists of 16 hospitals, 11 long-term care facilities, a medical research institute, four trauma centers, five home health agencies and dozens of outpatient centers. The members and affiliates of North Shore-LIJ house more than 8,800 beds, and are staffed by over 8,000 physicians, nearly 11,000 nurses and a total workforce of more than 37,500 -- the largest employer on Long Island and the ninth largest in New York City.

SOURCE North Shore-LIJ Health System
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