Selecting a Hospital
Choosing where to get healthcare services is an important decision.
It can make a difference in the cost and outcome of your treatment,
because every patient's health insurance is different and hospitals
can offer expertise in different areas. Patients should consult with
their primary care physician before seeking hospital care and also consider
the following questions.
Does the hospital have experience with my condition?
Certain hospitals have more experience with specific conditions. Ask
your doctor or the hospital for information on:
- how often the procedure is done there
- how often the doctor performs the procedure
- what the outcomes have been for other patients who have had
the treatment at that hospital
Does your specialist or surgeon have privileges at
Doctors usually have certain hospitals in which
they are allowed to practice; this is known as "privileges." You may
want to choose a hospital where your doctor can treat you. If you choose
to go to a hospital where your doctor does not have privileges, you
may be under the care of another doctor.
Is the hospital accredited
by national accreditation bodies like the The Joint Commission, DNV
or the American Osteopathic Association?
Hospitals undergo a
licensure process that requires them to meet certain standards for the
delivery of patient care. In addition, hospitals can choose to be surveyed
by accreditation organizations like the The Joint Commission to make
sure they meet certain quality standards. The Joint Commission, for
example, prepares a performance report on each hospital that it surveys.
The report lists such items as:
- accreditation status, ranging from "Not Accredited,"
to the highest, "Accredited with Commendation"
- evaluation of the key performance measures
- areas needing improvement
- comparison with national results
How does the hospital's quality compare with others in my area?
Websites that have quality information should be one of many factors
you should consider before making any healthcare decision. Such information
is available on this website here. Other websites
that have quality information include:
Does my health insurance cover care at the hospital?
you are looking to have a procedure done at a particular hospital, first
ensure the hospital is "in the network" of your specific health insurance
plan. Keep in mind that hospitals deal with hundreds of different insurance
plans every day, so calling the hospital to ask if they "accept" your
plan is often not a fool-proof way of finding out if your care will
be paid for. It is always best to contact your insurance company's customer
service line and ask them to confirm whether the hospital is in your
network of covered healthcare providers.
I don't have insurance; does the hospital have a charity care
or payment plan policy that will work for me?
Patients who don't
have health insurance but are aware that they need to seek care at a
hospital in the near future are urged to contact the hospitals in which
they are considering treatment and inquire about their charity care
policies and payment plan options. In 2010, Michigan community hospitals
provided nearly $2.6 billion in community benefits to patients and local
residents. These programs provide hundreds of millions of dollars worth
of charity care to patients who may lack the necessary resources to
Have you asked friends, family and colleagues about their experiences
with local hospitals?
A patient's specific experience with a
hospital may be different from the care others receive, but getting
information about items such as the quality and comfort of patient rooms
or waiting rooms, attitudes and friendliness of the hospital staff,
quality of food from the cafeteria, and other convenience or comfort
issues will be helpful.