This is Part 3 in a 5-part series of articles on 5 Tips to Be a Better Participant in Your Healthcare. In Part 3, I discuss the importance of choosing the right hospital.
5 Tips to Be a Better Participant in Your Healthcare: Introduction
Part 2: Speak Up During the Visit
Part 3: Find the Right Hospital
Tip #3: Find the Right Hospital
Nearly all hospitals treat complications of common medical problems: high blood pressure, diabetes, falls, and seizures. They differ in the volume or extent of treating patients, the availability of tests (ex. MRI, PET scans), and the types of doctors who offer services to the patients of the hospital. Some hospitals offer beneficial services such as intense rehabilitation programs or advanced technology such as robotic surgery.
Just as doctors have a special interest, many hospitals have unique or exclusive programs. They may also have special procedures and research that may benefit you as a patient. Most of this information can be found online by searching the hospital or by asking your doctor.
Frequently, the hospital wherein you are treated is determined by your health insurance or by the preference of your treating doctor. Your treating doctor may work at several hospitals or only at one hospital. Your health insurance may only provide coverage at certain places.
But you can still play a role in finding the right hospital for you!
You should know the hospitals your doctor works. You should also know the extent of your insurance coverage for any treatments and procedures to help prevent any surprise charges. Will they pay for your colonoscopy? How much do you have to pay for your mammogram at a certain place? Is it cheaper at another facility? If your preference is a certain hospital, it may ultimately mean you may have to choose a different doctor who works there.
Remember, when you know more, you will be more engaged in your healthcare. You will also be more aware and assured in navigating through the process.