Monday, April 19, 2010

Medicare's "Hospital Compare" Website

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services have partnered to provide the "Hospital Compare" website.  This tool can help you to choose the best hospital for your medical condition or surgical procedure.  In addition, this website provides information about a hospital's quality of care, as measured by patient surveys. You can search for hospitals by name, city, county, or distance from your zip code.  The website compares hospitals using several types of information.  

First, there are the "Hospital Process of Care Measures". These measures "show how often hospitals give recommended treatments known to get the best results for patients with certain medical conditions or surgical procedures". They have information about best practices for heart attack care, heart failure care, pneumonia care, asthma care, and surgical care.

The next section is "Hospital Outcome of Care Measures". This information includes death rates and hospital readmission rates for each hospital. The ratings are fair, since the "calculations take into account how sick patients were when they went in for their initial hospitalization". Other measures include "Structural Measures", such as whether the hospital uses electronic health records.

Another Medicare website, Nursing Home Compare, helps people to choose a good quality nursing home.

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