Helps Patients Shop For Optimal Hospital Care

Mar 29 2008 - 11:38am

The CMS, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), today posted new survey information at the Hospital Compare consumer Web site offering consumers more insight about the hospitals in their communities.

In addition to adding the new information at from Medicare patients about their hospital stays, CMS is adding information about the number of certain elective hospital procedures provided to those patients and what Medicare pays for those services. For the first time, consumers have the three critical elements -- quality information, patient satisfaction survey information, and pricing information for specific procedures -- they need to make effective decisions about the quality and value of the health care available to them through local hospitals.

"By enhancing these resources, Medicare is strengthening its commitment to use the transparency of quality information to help give consumers more choice about the quality of their health care and how they may be able to lower their health care costs," HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said. "To achieve goals around providing consumers with the information necessary, and the incentive, to choose hospitals based on quality and value, HHS is continuing work with partners such as the Hospital Quality Alliance to drive quality up and the cost down."

The Hospital Compare Web site currently provides information on 26 quality measures, which include process of care and outcome measures. Process of care measures report how well a hospital provides care and outcome measures reflect the results of the care that beneficiaries received while in the hospital. With the addition of the 10 new patient experience of care topics, consumers will now be able to get a better picture of the quality of care delivered at their local hospitals.

"Medicare beneficiaries tell us that just like the information they receive about other products and services they consume, they want to know what their neighbors are saying about the care they received while in the hospital; they want to know how much it costs; and they want to know about the quality of that care. We are now sharing that information," said CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems. "The nation's hospitals and others who work with patients share our goal of improving the quality of care for all. Our quality improvement efforts include a wide-ranging set of tools and data to do just that."



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