Selecting a Hospital
Choosing where to get health care 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
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
specialist or surgeon have privileges at the hospital?
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
Is the hospital accredited by national accreditation
bodies like the The Joint Commission, DNV or the American Osteopathic
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
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:
status, ranging from "Not Accredited," to the highest, "Accredited with
- evaluation of the key performance measures
- areas needing improvement
- comparison with national results
does the hospital's quality compare with others in my area?
that have quality information should be one of many factors you should
consider before making any health care 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?
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 health care providers.
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
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.