Tom Segell

As Ohioans usher in a new year, new state laws are changing health care in the state.

One of the many changes is a Web site where people seeking medical procedures can research Ohio’s hospitals and read the evaluations and performance ratings of the different sectors within each of them.

Jay Karey, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Health Office of Public Affairs, believes the Web site will be an effective service for many.

“It allows Ohioans to make informed decisions when it comes to facilities where they’re going to have health procedures done,” Karey said. “You look at costs, data, infection rates, complication rates and so on. If you’re going to have some form of surgery, you want to see who has had problems in which area.”

Oxford’s McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital received an 84 percent – its highest score within the patient satisfaction evaluation – in communication with doctors. The hospital’s lowest score was communication with medicines at 56 percent.

Karey said with this information readily and easily accessible, high scoring hospitals will prosper while mediocre and dismal ones will likely see a precipitous drop in business.

“I would think that there is going to be some consumer

backlash,” Karey said. “Hospitals are very market savvy. Now the consumer has a lot of information and can make better decisions.”

Karey said the new Web site will make hospital reputations based upon more than hear-say.

“It’s incumbent upon hospitals that they are represented well,” Karey said. “Hospitals have reputations; some good, some bad. This gives the data to see if those reputations are warranted. It’s not word on the street.”

Karey said the scores are based on a variety of sources and the hospitals are required to report them to the federal government.

The Web site can be found at http://publicapps.odh.ohio.gov/facilityinformation/.

Another change of medical importance is the approval of a new state law that will increase the maximum age at which parents can purchase insurance coverage for dependent children.

The new age is 29 as long as the child is unmarried, according to Carly Glick, chief of communications at the Ohio Department of Insurance.

The law comes in response to Governor Ted Strickland’s attempts to provide affordable health care to all and will go into effect July 1.

Glick said the new law is a step in the right direction.

“It is the governor’s initiative to reform health care in Ohio so more people could afford coverage,” Glick said. “1.3 million are uninsured right now.”

Glick said this law will benefit at least 21,000 Ohioans.

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