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Medicare Provides Valuable Information on Hospital Quality

07/10/2015
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If you seek medical care you definitely should read the patient reviews on Medicare’s Hospital Compare website .

In April, Medicare added a feature that allows prospective patient’s to read ratings from patients of hospital stays based on patient’s assessments and compare 3 hospitals to each other at a time.  The information that you will find discusses the quality of care at over 4,000 Medicare-certified hospitals across the country.  To obtain this information all you need to do is visit medicare.gov/hospitalcompare and type in your zip code and choose 3 hospitals to compare that are located near where you live.  This information can help you make a more informed decision about where you go to obtain your health care.  Further, this information encourages hospitals to improve the quality of their care because the information comes directly from the patient’s own experiences.

When you choose to review patients’ experiences, you can see ratings for subjects such as “patients who reported that their nurses always communicated well”, “patients who reported that their doctors always communicated well”, and “patients who reported that they always received help as soon as they wanted”.

For example, below I have created a comparison between (3) hospitals in the 33409 zip code area:

  • Good Samaritan Medical Center
  • West Palm Hospital
  • St. Mary’s Medical Center

This sample comparison illustrates the vast amount of valuable information available to consumers in selecting hospitals.

Medicare Hospital Comparison

In addition to comparing patients’ experiences in 3 separate hospitals, you can also see ratings for other aspects of the hospital experience, including timely and effective care, payment and value of care, and complications and death.

For instance, if you are concerned about developing blood clots while in the hospital, there is a feature that reports on how well hospitals are providing recommended care known to prevent or treat blood clots and how often blood clots occur in their hospital that could have been prevented.

Information is never a bad thing.  Hopefully the information gathered on Medicare’s Hospital Compare website can help you make a better decision about what hospital to use next time you need one.

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