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In New York State, Employers Launch Quality Consortium

An employers' coalition and health quality company have jointly created the New York State Health Accountability Foundation, a not-for-profit consortium of health purchasers. The New York Business Group on Health and IPRO launched the foundation with $250,000 in seed money from the New York Legislature. IPRO is a health care quality consultancy that has its roots as a peer review organization.

The foundation will promote competition and consumer choice, and provide employers with information on health plan quality, access and satisfaction. It will offer member companies evaluation and quality improvement services, including customized performance reports comparing strengths and weaknesses of individual health plans. Evaluations will be based on the National Committee for Quality Assurance's Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS).

Members can also obtain standardized reports that measure employee satisfaction with a health plan's quality and accessibility. Satisfaction reports will be compiled and weighted to allow accurate comparisons among plans. The foundation also plans to conduct clinical improvement studies to assess and ultimately improve the quality of treatment that health plans provide for specified diseases.

Among the organizations represented on the foundation's employer steering committee are IBM, Citibank, Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Bell Atlantic and TIAA-CREF, the largest pension fund in the world.

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