It’s never fun to think about future medical emergencies, but these situations are bound to arrive — and when they do, prior planning could make a huge difference. This is particularly true when it comes to hospital selection, as you cannot be counted on to find the best hospital near you in the midst of an emergency.
Unfortunately, hospital quality differs dramatically, as seen in alarming statistics. Hence, the need to examine the data in advance to ensure that you make the right decision before a hospital visit is required. Keep the following considerations in mind:
A variety of resources offer detailed reviews and ratings of hospitals in your area. Consumer Reports is always an excellent option, but you’ll also find helpful guidance from the following:
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
- Leapfrog Hospital Survey
These ratings delve into several facets of care, including infection rates, patient safety measures, and staff communication. All factors are important; avoid choosing a hospital that scores remarkably well in one area but falls behind in others.
Consider Individual Departments
The desirability of a particular hospital may depend, in part, on why you need to visit. If a given hospital is known, for example, for its exceptional cardiac care unit, it may be the best option when you need heart surgery. Department quality can vary significantly even in above-average hospitals, so when possible, consider the specific type of care you’ll be receiving.
Don’t Forget Insurance Coverage
A local hospital could boast exceptional ratings, but it might still be the wrong facility if it’s out-of-network. Unfortunately, you may need to make compromises for the sake of keeping costs manageable. Take a close look at your insurance plan to determine the extent to which your care will be covered at various facilities.