Alert
Close

Introducing AARP RealPad: The Wi-Fi Tablet That Makes It Easy to Share, Learn, Connect and Play. Learn more

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
10,000 Games Galore Sweepstakes from AARP
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Nothing has been viewed

share your thoughts

What does the health care law mean to you? Your story is important. We read and learn from every story and it helps us in our educational efforts. We may even use your comments (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

Ask Sid

How Can I Find a Good Hospital?

Check websites that pool information on success rates and care

Q. I need to be hospitalized. How should I decide on the best facility for my needs?

A. Many patients rely solely on their doctor's recommendation, and while that's a good starting point, there are other factors to consider.

See also: Know all your treatment options.

You'll want to know if a facility has experience and a high success rate for your condition or procedure; whether it's accredited by the Joint Commission; and, of course, whether it's covered by your health plan.

You can get some answers by calling different facilities yourself. You might also get recommendations from the local chapters of condition-centric groups such as the American Cancer Society or American Heart Association.

But perhaps the best info can be gleaned by checking these four websites:

  • Hospital Compare, operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, lets you search for facilities based on your medical condition or surgical procedure. It includes survey results from patients on their quality of care, and information from hospitals that have submitted information on care quality. (If a local hospital is not there, it either means it did not submit the information or did not agree to make the information public.)
  • HealthGrades gives information and ratings on 5,000 hospitals and 750,000 doctors, pooled from dozens of sources, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. You can search by state or city and then by specialty. In the hospital rating area, you can check on such things as awards and patient survival rates.
  • QualityCheck.org is the website of the Joint Commission, which awards accreditations and certifications to hospitals. To receive these accolades, hospitals must voluntarily seek them out and meet specific criteria. The Joint Commission makes periodic checks to ensure quality is maintained. Its website lists facilities it has accredited and certified, searchable by name, ZIP or city, and type of service or provider.
  • Healthcare Reviews lists anonymous postings from patients about their experiences with certain doctors or hospitals. Expect strong feelings ­ — good or bad — from people who took the time to post their reviews.

You may also like: Tips to avoid a return trip to the hospital. >>

Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Reading eyeglasses eyemed 6 membership benefit health

Members save 25% on orders of $200 or more and get 25% off lens upgrades at glasses.com.

AARP/Walgreens Wellness Bus Stops in Clarksdale, MS

Members can get exclusive points offers from Walgreens and Duane Reade.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.