Lose the Hassle Factor

Western New Yorkers say that obtaining health care - from urgent to routine - should be as convenient and efficient as possible.

How is Western New York Doing?

Western New Yorkers face significant hassles in obtaining care, from urgent to routine to specialized.

The ease with which patients obtain the care they need, including appointments and treatments, quickly and when needed, reflects the degree to which health care organizations operate efficiently and are flexible in accommodating the patient's health needs or scheduling restrictions. From the perspective of the patient, Western New Yorkers appear to face significant hassles in this area, even when seeking emergency care. Less than two in three health plan customers say they were always able to receive urgent care as quickly as they thought they needed, with averages even less for Medicaid plan customers. For the lowest rated health plans, fewer than 60 percent report they were able to receive emergency care. Routine care and access to needed tests and treatments are critical to managing and monitoring health conditions, especially for the increasing number of Western New Yorkers with chronic diseases. Yet just about 60 percent of Western New Yorkers are satisfied with their ability to make routine appointments and obtain needed care, tests or treatment. Where Western New Yorkers experience the most frustration is in booking appointments with specialists. Barely half of health plan customers say they are always able to easily get appointments with specialists.

However, on all of the above measures of obtaining appointments and tests, Western New Yorkers are better off than the average health plan customer nationwide. This is true of both Medicaid and commercial enrollees. As a smaller region with a declining population, perhaps there's less competition among patients for health care resources.

Western New Yorkers show low levels of satisfaction with their health plan's customer service staff.

As the key intermediary in care access and affordability, health care plans play a central role in guiding patients through the health system. Just over half of Western New York health plan customers are satisfied with how well their health plans provide information or help. Notably, the region's health plans are rated higher than health plans are nationally.

Western New Yorkers give hospitals higher scores for assistance with the discharge process, but rate them poorly for their ability to quickly respond to their needs.

When hospital staff are able to respond quickly to basic patient needs, this suggests not only compassionate staff, but a fluid operation, with adequate and appropriately allocated staff. About half of hospital patients report that staff did not always respond quickly when they asked for help by pressing the call button or asking for assistance in going to the bathroom. Western New Yorkers give higher ratings for how well staff addressed their aftercare needs through the discharge process, which includes notification of available resources in the community. More than eight out of 10 patients of the region's hospitals report that staff told them of available resources outside the hospital as well as symptoms or other health issues they needed to watch out for during their recovery, a rate slightly higher than the national and state averages.

Lose the Hassle Factor: Performance Comparison

Performance Measures WNY Compared to
U.S. average
Getting Urgent Care Quickly (Commercial)
Getting Routine Care Quickly (Commercial)
Getting Care, Tests or Treatment (Commercial)
Getting Appointments with Specialists (Commercial)
Getting Information or Help From Health Plan Customer Service (Commercial)
Responsiveness of Hospital Staff
Discharge Information

Data Gaps for this Priority

  • See How to Reach Excellence Together for data opportunities
  • The region lacks...data on wait times during visits to doctor's offices, as well as for diagnostic test results
  • The region lacks...data on the number of physicians in the region accepting new patients

Chart Legend

Data are from the CAHPS nationwide patient experience surveys of hospital patients and health plan customers, including 24 hospitals and three health plans in Western New York. See Measuring Methods for more information.

- Hospital Indicator
- Health Plan Indicator
- Risk Factor Indicator

- Above U.S. Average
- Same as U.S. Average
- Below U.S. Average
- Average Not Available