Selecting a hospital can be a daunting task and often people are not aware that they have choices in the selection of a hospital. Also, people are generally not aware that the Quality of Care can vary from Hospital to Hospital. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is choosing to go to the hospital that is closest to you. A better approach is selecting a Hospital that suits your particular needs and that may mean the difference between a rapid recovery and less time spent in the hospital vs. a prolonged stay and a slower recovery process. One of the best places to start your investigation of the best hospital for you is to speak with you physician about the alternatives that are available to you. Through diligent research and asking the right questions of both the physician and the hospital will help you in your selection process. Remember, the more you know about your condition and the options that are available to you the better your chances of a successful outcome. UCompareHealthCare provides a plethora of information absolutely FREE to you in the research of hospitals in your area!
If you belong to a managed care plan like an HMO or PPO you probably have specific hospitals to choose from that are associated with those plans. Often in the case of medical emergencies you will not have the time or ability to make a choice of what hospital you would like to be taken to. In these cases it is very important that you know as much as possible about the hospitals that are available to you and the information we offer at UCompareHealthCare will help you in the proactive research for the hospital that will offer the best care for your specific needs or the needs of your family. We allow you to print much of this information and encourage you to take it with you when you visit your health care providers. Remember knowledge is power and there is no substitute for being prepared.
UCompareHealthCare has compiled information that we hope will help you in your research and assist you in the selection of the hospital that is best suited for your particular needs. This information includes analysis of over 6500 hospitals within the United States as well as scientifically derived results of specific quality measures that are focused on procedures and conditions that have been shown to varying across hospitals, specific recommended care known as process measures that reflect individual hospital performance on the delivery of recommended care to patients, demographic and service information for each hospital, patient safety information that reflects how well hospitals avoid specific patient safety issues. We also provide staffing levels and services that the hospital offers patients to aid in your comparison.
According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), finding out if a hospital offers general or specialized care, is a teaching hospital and to whom it is associated with are two important criteria. Patient advocate groups also suggest understanding if the hospital is nonprofit or for-profit. The following information will help you understand the types of hospitals and suggest other criteria that you should investigate in your research process.
General Hospitals: General hospitals tend to offer a full range of services for medical conditions for which most people need treatment. Within this group of hospitals are Acute Care Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals. Acute Care Hospitals are defined as a facility providing medical and/or surgical services to all individuals that seek care and treatment, regardless of the individual's ability to pay for such services. Acute Care Hospitals are capable of providing care on an immediate and emergent basis through an established Emergency Department as well as continuous treatment on its premises for more than 24 hours. Critical Access Hospitals was a designation created by the U.S. Congress to support small rural hospitals by allowing cost-based reimbursement for care provided to Medicare beneficiaries. Although Critical Access Hospitals are short-term general hospitals offering routine inpatient care, some also provide intensive care services. To qualify to be a Critical Access Hospital, a rural hospital may have a maximum of 25 acute care beds and be considered critical to the care of the community by virtue of distance from other hospitals. Other requirements include provision of 24 hour emergency department services and an average length of stay for acute care of 96 hours or less. As a result of their short term, limited care nature, Critical Access Hospitals must establish relationships with other hospitals to which they can transfer patients needing more care.
Specialized Hospitals: These types of hospitals provide a concentration of services for a particular type of diseases or condition such as cancer treatment, specialty surgical procedures or treatment of children.
Teaching Hospitals or Community Hospitals: Teaching hospitals have a variety of goals associated with their operation. These institutions treat patients and also provide a training facility for physicians or other health care professionals. These facilities are almost always associated with medical schools. Association with a medical school means that patients have access to highly skilled specialist who may teach at the affiliated medical school and are experienced in the most up to the minute technologies. One should take into consideration that you do not always have to select a teaching hospital as a primary source of hospital care for you or your family. Very often the quality of care you can receive at smaller community hospitals often compare to the quality at teaching hospitals for routine illnesses and surgeries. Once again, doing your homework will help you understand many quality and service capabilities available to you and your family.
Nonprofit and For-Profit Hospitals: You should know who owns the hospital and what their goals are for patient care. The quality of care varies widely within each of these categories and an understanding of who owns the facility is important. Consumer advocate groups claim that for profit hospitals are more likely to discharge patients before they are ready to leave the hospital and also fail to perform necessary tests or procedures if a patient is not insured or if their insurance will not cover additional time in the hospital. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at over 1 million discharge records of patients discharged in 1987 and found that uninsured patients in worse health than insured patients were discharged earlier. Although the study did not analyze this difference between for profit and not for profit hospitals it did show that this situation existed.
Voluntary Hospitals: These are hospitals that are non-profit community hospitals operating under either religious or other voluntary auspices. These organizations normally operate as directed by its board of trustees and board members are usually selected from community business or professional people that serve without pay. The board usually appoints a paid administrator to handle the daily operations of this type of facility.
Proprietary Hospitals: These are Hospitals which are considered commercial enterprises that are operated to make a profit. It should be noted that just because a hospital is a For- Profit organization does not imply that the quality of their services is less than other institutions and specifically less than non-profit institutions. These hospitals are owned by corporations or, less often, by individuals such as doctors who practice at the hospital. Hospital corporations usually own a chain of institutions located in several states in addition to possibly owning nursing homes or other types of health care facilities as well.
Government Supported Hospitals: Just as the name implies these hospitals are supported by the U.S. Government. They may include Veterans Administration Hospitals or other facilities. Most of the time these facilities are clearly identified for you as a Government owned facility.