On March 19, 2007, Gov. Ernie Fletcher announced the creation of the Health Care Information Center (HCIC), a new, comprehensive resource to help Kentucky consumers become more informed about the quality of health care throughout the commonwealth.
The Office of Health Policy (OHP) in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), in cooperation with the Kentucky Hospital Association, developed the new Web site, http://healthdata.chfs.ky.gov, which details the quality of patient care received in Kentucky hospitals.
“The HCIC dramatically improves the amount and types of information about the quality of health care available to the public,” said Gov. Fletcher. “Not only does it help achieve one of the key goals of my administration – improving health care for Kentuckians – but we’re positioning Kentucky as a leader in national efforts to infuse technology into the world of health care.”
Kentucky’s HCIC provides information on the performance of selected surgical procedures performed at Kentucky hospitals, as well as the outcomes of those procedures. Specifically, the Web site houses information on:
- how often patients die in a hospital while being treated for strokes, heart attacks and other medical conditions;
- how often certain procedures are performed, such as Caesarean deliveries, where overuse, underuse or misuse are a concern; and
- how often certain procedures are performed, such as cardiac catheterization, where higher volumes of those procedures are linked to better health outcomes.
The Web site also provides links to information on national and state averages so that patients know how a hospital fares compared to others in Kentucky and around the country.
On Aug. 22, 2006, an executive order was issued that mandates sharing of information about quality of care delivered by doctors and hospitals. In addition, the order promotes the adoption of standards for exchanging health information and insurance options that reward consumers who exercise choice among health providers based on value and quality of care.
During the 2005 and 2006 legislative sessions, the Fletcher administration successfully pushed for legislation that gives Kentuckians better access to information on the quality of health care procedures.
This announcement follows a number of actions taken by the Fletcher administration to make progress toward a lower cost, higher quality health care system and healthier lives for Kentucky families, including:
- The development and implementation of Get Healthy Kentucky (GHK), a statewide wellness initiative designed to educate and inspire Kentuckians to lead healthier lives by focusing on three components: physical activity, nutrition and tobacco cessation. More information about GHK may be obtained at www.gethealthy.ky.gov;
- Making health insurance more affordable for small employers and working families through the I-CARE program;
- Expanding access to affordable, consumer-directed plan options for state employees and small businesses;
- Redesigning the Medicaid program for low-income families to ensure a more sustainable, cost-effective program in the future; and
- Expanding the use of e-Health in the state to improve the quality and efficiency of health care.
“I strongly encourage all Kentuckians to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the quality of health care services across the commonwealth,” said CHFS Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell. “Looking at the information available at the Health Care Information Center is an excellent step toward making better informed choices about your health care.”