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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 the hospital?
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?
If 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 get well.

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.

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Oct. 21, 2014
MHA Keystone: Surgery Workshop
Registration is now open for the annual MHA Keystone: Surgery workshop, being held Oct. 21 at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids. Presentation topics include handoff communication, health literacy and glycemic control. Hospital teams will also hear from experts on physician and executive engagement, culture and reducing surgical-site infections in colon patients. Speaker information and the draft agenda can be viewed here.

To register, visit the MHA Event Registration page or complete the registration form and return via email to Tammy Nault or fax to (517) 703-0605. For questions about the event, please contact Michelle Norcross. Registration will close Oct. 13 and all registrations received after this deadline will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.
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