New York State Conference of Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans - NYSCOP

Resources & Links

Researching health-care issues has never been more easy--or difficult. There are literally millions of health-related web sites online. As a service, we have categorized many useful sites that pertain to the general health-care topics of cost, quality and access, particularly in New York State.

To view the links under each category, simply click on the click on the category of interest.

Health Care and Insurance Law

Hinman Straub P.C.

This leading health-care law firm in New York State provides a daily summary of health and insurance-related news articles on its web site that is sponsored by the New York State Conference of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. The firm also maintains an online library of health-care policy issues of the day and a link library of public and private organizations, journals, reference guides and search engines relating to health care.

American Health Lawyers Association

Visitors to this web site can access information pertaining to recent court actions, the legal aspects of health-care financing issues, health law enforcement activities, federal government programs and federal regulation of the health-care industry.

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NYS Government Offices & Agencies

New York State Government Home Page
Provides users with comprehensive access to information pertaining to state government activities, including those involving health care and insurance.

The New York State Department of Insurance
Offers information concerning health coverage benefits and premium rates for standardized products, consumers' rights information, fraud prevention and detection, New York's Health Care Reform Act and various other state regulations and legislation that affect health care consumers, insurers and agents in New York State.

The New York State Department of Health
Provides users with health care quality measurement studies, a searchable catalog of health care professionals disciplined by the Department, information concerning graduate medical education programs and funding, hospital discharge data, public health initiatives, vital statistics and other facets of health care administration and regulation.

New York State Senate Home Page
Provides visitors to this site with information concerning the activities of the New York State Senate. Users may use this site to track legislation under consideration by the legislature, access a current Senate directory, read press releases distributed by the Majority Leader and learn about the procedures followed by the Senate in conducting its business.

New York State Assembly Home Page
Visitors to this site may access a wealth of information concerning the activities of the New York State Assembly. Users may use this site to track legislation considered by the legislative branch, access a current directory of Assembly members, read press releases distributed by the Assembly Speaker and learn about the procedures followed by the Assembly in conducting its business.

New York State Legislature Bill tracking Engine
This site allows users to view bills, roll call votes, sponsor memos and status reports via an interactive database. Information pertaining to resolutions considered by both the Assembly and Senate is also available.

Assembly Legislative Information Service
Sponsored by the New York State Assembly, this web site provides users with a vehicle for tracking legislation under consideration by the New York State Legislature. Users may view bills, roll call votes, sponsor memos and status reports via an interactive database. Information pertaining to resolutions considered by the Assembly is also available.

New York State Office of the Attorney General
In regard to health care, the Attorney General plays a role in enforcing laws designed to protect the integrity and quality of health care in New York State. Users may learn more about statewide anti-fraud activities, how to select a long term care provider and inform consumers of their rights under laws regulating the health care industry.

Office of the New York State Comptroller
The New York State Comptroller is New York State's chief fiscal officer, and is responsible for governmental and financial oversight and pension fund management. Visitors to this site may access a wide variety of information pertaining to health-care, such as audits of the Medicaid program and health-care agencies, policy analysis concerning health-care and insurance issues, and opinions regarding the fiscal appropriateness of proposed health-care policy initiatives.

The New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct
The OPMC is the office responsible for investigating complaints about physicians, physician assistants and specialist assistants. The office reviews complaints, renders decisions and takes corrective action when necessary. The OPMC also acts as an information provider to consumers, offering visitors to its site regular reports of disciplinary actions taken against the providers OPMC regulates.

The New York State Office of the Professions
The OP regulates several types of professionals in New York State, including dentists, pharmacists, nurses, physical therapists and alternative care providers as well as professionals in other fields of endeavor. Users may verify the status of any licensed professional regulated by OP through an interactive database, view reports of disciplinary actions taken by OP against licensed professionals and obtain information on how to file a complaint of suspected misconduct.

National Association of Insurance Commissioners
Provides users with model laws drafted by the organization to assist state insurance commissioners in the creation of uniform regulations, NAIC position statements and updates on current issues affecting insurance regulation on the state and federal levels. Users may also access the web sites of insurance departments across the country via an interactive map.

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Federal Government Departments and Agencies

Department of Health and Human Services
Allows users to access information from the federal government concerning health care in the United States. Includes information concerning federal health initiatives, proposed health-care reforms and programs, and general health care information.

United States Senate
Provides users with information concerning the activities of the United States Senate. Visitors to this site may use this site to track legislation under consideration by the legislature, access a directory of current Senators and learn about the procedures followed by the Senate in conducting its business.

United States House of Representatives
Visitors to this site may access information concerning the activities of the United States House of Representatives. Users may use this site to track legislation considered by Congress, access a current directory of House members and learn about the procedures followed by the House of Representatives in conducting its business.

Thomas Congressional Information Online
Provides users with access to information concerning legislative activity by the United States Congress, including the status and description of pending legislation, reports from committees, session calendars and the Congressional Record. Links to the Library of Congress Main Page, government agencies related to the Congress and historical documents are also available.

National Institutes of Health
Provides information pertaining to federally funded research projects. Statistical tables pertaining to research grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health are offered in various formats, including state-by-state comparison charts and a listing of awards granted to individual institutions each year. Links to its 24 institutions, centers and divisions are also available.

Health Resources and Services Administration
Users can access information concerning access to health care, quality assurance, workforce capacity, practice guidelines, grant information and current event information relating to public health. Links to various agencies administered by HRSA are also available.

U.S. Bureau of the Census
Offers statistical information concerning the population of the United States including the population's health insurance status.

The Agency for Health Research and Quality
This agency supports research designed to improve health care quality, reduce health-care costs and broaden public access to health care services. Available on their web site are statistics pertaining to health-care costs and utilization as well as a searchable online catalog. The agency also provides links to clinical practice guidelines that the agency has promulgated.

National Center for Health Statistics
Provides users with news releases, fact sheets and other articles and publications pertaining to health-care issues.

Health Care Financing Administration
Offers information pertaining to the Medicare and Medicaid programs. This site features information for consumers, statistics pertaining to federal funding of state Medicaid programs and news about federal health-care initiatives such as anti-fraud activities.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information
Provides users with access to basic information pertaining to genetic research, links to databases, downloads of software tools used for analyzing genetic information and an online library.

Food and Drug Administration
Provides users with information pertaining to products regulated by the FDA such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, food supplements and additives and other consumer products. Visitors to this site can obtain background information on the subjects covered, product advisory and recall information, regulatory information and industry research and statistics.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Provides users with access to its scientific data and health statistics as well as downloadable versions of several of its publications. Users can also access the web sites of state departments of health via a links page.

The Office of Genetics and Disease Prevention
Links to web sites dealing with legal, ethical and social issues related to genetics. A listserve subscription option is also available for users interested in receiving links to current news headlines pertaining to genetics.

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Businesses & Health Care Coverage

Business Council of New York State, Inc.
Visitors to this site may access public policy position papers, employer surveys and industry research relating to health care cost, access and quality. Users may also access current news articles and fact sheets pertaining to a wide range of issues studied by the Business Council on its members' behalf.

Manufacturers Association of Central New York
Provides users with a monthly online newsletter discussing health-care costs, employee benefits and other topics of interest to association members. The site also contains an advocacy section with information concerning legislative initiatives, such as health benefit mandate proposals.

National Federation of Independent Business
The NFIB web site offers users a wealth of information, including updates on federal health-care legislation, information concerning health-care issues in the states and official NFIB position statements. Visitors to this site may also contact their federal and state legislators using interactive databases maintained by the NFIB.

Support Services Alliance
The SSA is a support organization that provides more than 24 programs and services to small employers and sole proprietors. Visitors to this site gain access to information concerning group health insurance, medical savings accounts (MSAs) prescription drug costs and non-health care-related programs available through SSA. The site also features a legislative action section which offers updates on legislation that affects small business, SSA position statements and basic information on the legislative process.

The New York Business Group on Health
The New York Business Group on Health, Inc. (NYBGH) is a coalition of employers, consultants, health plans, providers of health services, hospitals, groups of health professionals and government agencies whose aim is to improve the quality and efficiency of the health care industry. Visitors to this site can access a listing of the group's publications concerning health care, quality assurance initiatives and value purchasing program.

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Advocacy Groups for Health Services Providers

American Hospital Association
This national hospital advocacy organization provides users with position statements concerning government regulations affecting hospitals and information pertaining to the organization's efforts to advance health care programs of interest to AHA members.

American Medical Association
Visitors to this site are able to access a wide range of information pertaining to patient safety, quality improvement, technological advancements in health care, physician-specific issues and official AMA positions concerning health care legislation.

Greater New York Hospital Association
Visitors to its site may access descriptions of the organization's ongoing lobbying and research efforts that include graduate medical education and proposals for serving the uninsured.

Healthcare Association of New York State
Provides users with a summary of current events in health care that affect its member hospitals and nursing homes. Users may also access position statements published by the organization concerning health care policy and learn about the various programs that the organization sponsors.

Iroquois Healthcare Alliance
Offers visitors information regarding the health care workforce, health care financing, upstate New York hospital financial performance, health care quality, government regulations and programs affecting member hospitals and health care facilities and official position statements of the Alliance.

Medical Society of the State of New York
This site provides users with information concerning public health issues, fact sheets on certain diseases, a description of Medical Society legislative activities and services offered by the trade association to its members. Users may also access a list of links to county medical societies, specialty societies and other medical web sites.

United Hospital Fund
Visitors to this site may access research papers concerning health care coverage for the uninsured, health care financing issues, medical care for at-risk populations and health care quality improvement.

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Advocacy Groups Related to Illnesses and Other Consumer Groups

Health Care Choices
HCC provides visitors to its site with information on federal and state legislative trends affecting key health care issues, articles outlining developments affecting the cost and availability of health care services and data for use by purchasers of health care coverage in evaluating health plans. Data pertaining to procedure volume, patients' average lengths of staty in hospitals and analysis of new regulations governing health care coverage in New York State are a sampling of reports available at this site.

The Medicare Web Page
Administered by the federal government, this web page provides users with comprehensive Medicare program and benefit information. Some valuable features of this site include search tools that assist users in identifying and comparing Medicare coverage options, Medigap insurance carriers, and nursing homes throughout the country.

Center for Medical Consumers
The Center for Medical Consumers (CMC) is a non-profit advocacy organization active in both statewide and national efforts to improve the quality and availability of health care. Visitors to this site may access information concerning procedure volume in New York State hospitals and by New York State physicians (a quality measurement), position statements on health care policy issues of interest to consumers. The site also contains portions of the Center's monthly newsletter, "HealthFacts".

National Coalition on Health Care
NCHC is comprised of employer groups, labor unions, religious groups and health care providers. It offers users access to studies, articles and position statements on the cost of health care, access to health care coverage, health care services and quality assurance in health care.

National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association
Provides visitors with fact sheets pertaining to health care fraud, including its cost, prevalence, and impact upon health care consumers as well as information concerning the strategies used by perpetrators and efforts by anti-fraud officers and investigators to detect and prevent health care fraud.

American Cancer Society
This web site offers visitors a wide range of information concerning cancer, including fact sheets regarding specific forms of the disease, treatments employed, mortality and morbidity statistics and general information for cancer patients and their families. This site also provides users with reports concerning various initiatives underway to reduce cancer rates and fund the development of new cancer treatments.

American Heart Association
Among the resources available at this site are fact sheets, statistical analyses, special reports concerning specific cardio-pulmonary diseases and disease prevention strategies. This web sites also provides users with information pertaining to scientific conferences sponsored by the Association, community outreach activities and public policy position statements.

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Quality Assurance/Rating Organizations

The Joint Commission
The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies more than 17,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Its mission is to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value.

The United Hospital Fund
The United Hospital Fund is a nonprofit health services research and philanthropic organization whose mission is to shape positive change in health care for the people of New York. They advance policies and support programs that promote high-quality, patient-centered health care services that are accessible to all. The United Hospital Fund undertakes research and policy analysis to improve the financing and delivery of care in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other care settings. They also raise funds and give grants to examine emerging issues and stimulate innovative programs, as well as working collaboratively with civic, professional, and volunteer leaders.

100 Top
Published by the health care consulting firm Solucient, this web site identifies the top hospitals in the United States based upon empirical findings from publicly available performance data. The consulting firm studies hospital performance in a number of categories, including Intensive Care Unit (ICU) operation, stroke treatment, orthopedic care, treatment of cardiovascular disease, clinical research programs and overall performance. Visitors to this site may view the most current annual list of 100 top hospitals in each of these fields.

The Center for Medical Consumers
The Center for Medical Consumers is a non-profit advocacy organization whose mission is to improve the quality of health care. Of particular interest on this site are the Center's "Procedure Volume" reports, which indicate the number of procedures performed by specific hospitals and providers in a given year. Visitors to this site may also learn more about quality-related developments in the health care industry and read about the Center's advocacy efforts in state and federal health care policy.
This unusual web site provides users with report cards on health plans, physicians, and hospitals throughout the U.S. Profiles of alternative care providers, specialty clinics and assisted living facilities are available as well. Using an interactive database provided on the site, users may access individual report cards or compare several different report cards at once.

The Leapfrog Group for Patient Safety
The Leapfrog Group is comprised of Fortune 500 companies and other large health care purchasers, and is committed to advocating for the improvement of health care quality. Visitors to this site may download fact sheets and read articles concerning proposed improvements in the health care system. Information pertaining to the Group's mission, membership and upcoming events is also available. is a project undertaken by the Niagara Health Quality Coalition. Posted on this site are reports concerning quality measurement and quality improvement initiatives in the health care industry. Visitors to this site may also access information pertaining to health care costs as well as a number of educational articles and links of interest to health care consumers.

American Board of Medical Specialties
The ABMS is an organization of 24 medical specialty boards whose goal is to maintain and improve health care quality by developing and implementing new standards for physician board certification. Visitors to this site can verify the board certification status of a doctor or may search for a listing of board certified doctors according to their location or specialty. Users may also view conference proceedings published by ABMS online, peruse a list of books published by the organization and learn more about ABMS activities and upcoming events.

National Committee for Quality Assurance
This nationally recognized accreditation organization provides users with "report card" ratings of participating health care plans throughout the United States. Visitors may access and compare the scores of health plans via an online database using a variety of search criteria.

National Patient Safety Foundation
Users may access reports, download consumer advice for reducing medical errors, join an online discussion group or access links to other sites concerned with enhancing patient safety.

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Research Institutions and Health Care Industry Data Providers

Excellus Health Policy Reports
Excellus Health Plan, New York's largest upstate insurer operating in 45 counties, issues public policy research papers on health care cost, quality and access issues. The papers present facts from the experience of covering more than 2 million New Yorkers.

Center for Health Affairs
Users can obtain information pertaining to a wide variety of health systems including the Medicare and Medicaid programs, hospitals and physicians. Information concerning the cost of health care, market trends and institutional business practices are also available at this site.

Data Advantage Corporation
Visitors may access a listing of data the company collects for its clients, including hospital cost reports, hospital financial performance data, physician profiling information and general health care market trends. Visitors may also request samples of products via an interactive database or access publicly released sample data.

IMS Health
This global pharmaceutical and health care consulting firm offers users access to its "Drug Monitor" report containing general pharmaceutical sales and marketing data as well as company announcements concerning major pharmaceutical industry developments.

Milliman and Robertson
M&R is an actuarial firm providing consulting services in the field of employee benefits. Visitors to this site can access the organization's series of free publications that cover a wide range of employee benefits topics including health and insurance issues.

William M. Mercer
This global employee benefits consultant offers visitors to its site information concerning the cost, structure and administration of employee benefits packages. Users may access research reports and company announcements concerning both national and global trends in employee benefits and compensation.

National Center for Policy Analysis
This Washington-based policy research organization provides users with a wide range of information pertaining to public policy debates and proposals taking place on both the federal and state level. Users may access reports and public policy recommendations concerning topics that include the cost of health benefit mandates, the financial status of federal health care programs, the fiscal impact of government regulations on the health care industry and current health care proposals pending before Congress.

Lewin Group
The Lewin Group is a consulting firm specializing in research, policy and management, medical technology and health economics. Visitors to this site can access a wide range of information pertaining to health care, including insurance statistics and trends, health care quality, the impact of regulation on the health care industry and general health care trends.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
The national association of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. Users may access national health news from media and other sources. The site also contains briefing papers on key national health coverage issues and research aids for various topics.

Henry J. Kaiser Foundation
Provides users with information on several topics, including managed care, the expansion of benefits for the medically indigent, the impact of proposed public policies on the health care industry, Medicare and Medicaid, health care market trends and indicators, sexual and reproductive health, and general health care statistics.

Center for Studying Health System Change
The Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) is a research organization whose mission is to provide impartial and timely analysis concerning health care policy. Visitors to this site can view informational primers, in-depth research papers and copies of the organization's "Data Bulletin" reports concerning a wide range of health care issues and how they relate to cost, access and quality.

Health Insurance Association of America
This site provides users with information concerning the cost impact of proposed legislation and regulatory actions, public policy position statements and general educational materials relating to the health care industry and the products offered by HIAA members.

American Association of Health Plans
The American Association of Health Plans is a national trade association. Visitors to this site may access association publications, press releases concerning association activities, public policy position statements and consumer-related information pertaining to health care. Users may also read about educational products and services provided by the association.

New York Health Plan Association
This web site offers visitors information including the types of managed care products available to consumers in New York State, laws affecting managed care companies and consumers of managed care products, public policy news concerning managed care and official position statements published by HPA.

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Search Engines

Users may browse information available through several academic, non-profit and government-sponsored organizations on topics such as the federal Medicare program, public health and safety issues and personal health information. Links to sites providing more detailed information (such as medical journals and databases) are also available.

An interactive library containing information on a wide range of topics of interest to the health care industry. Users gain access to government regulations, public and private research reports, current news articles and links to other web sites on a wide variety of topics including consumer issues, insurance issues, provider issues, and public health and safety issues.

MeSH Headings
Provides users with Medical Subject Headings used to classify medical literature. Researchers having difficulty finding articles on specific subjects in major medical journals or search engines should consult this interactive index to obtain the most useful keywords to use in their searches.

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New York State Conference of Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans - 121 State Street, Albany, NY 12207
Phone: 518-432-9087 Email NYSCOP