Arizona’s Hospital Choice Website Compares More Than Just Prices

The Arizona Hospital and Health Care Association launched a new web site Tuesday called the Hospital Choice Web Site.  This is an innovative move to help consumers determine costs at hospitals throughout Arizona.  The site compares average charges, lengths of stay, and the number of procedures performed at each hospital.

This is extremely important for the growing number of uninsured or underinsured individuals.  It follows the pattern that Medicare started two years ago when they began posting information about their payments for medical procedures and the range of costs in each county, plus the number of procedures performed at each hospital.

Medicare also provides information online regarding how well hospitals take care of their patients, mortality rates, and how well they care for individuals who have had issues such as heart attacks and strokes.

The idea behind having this information readily available is so that it is easy for individuals – especially potential patients – to comparison shop just as they would at the grocery store or when buying a car.  They can now decide  – along with insurance or Medicare/Medicaid benefits, which hospital would be best to suit their financial and medical needs.  As a result, they become more in charge of their own personal healthcare, rather than leaving it in the hands of a program and its administrator.

The hope is that the quality of care will continue to rise while costs diminish due to public scrutiny.  With an easy to understand, transparent reporting system that is available to the public, it will be easier to hold hospitals accountable, and it will be in their best interests to create more or better quality control mechanisms so that they will hold themselves accountable.

Transparent reporting is a positive step in improving health care and increasing the dialogue between patients/consumers and providers to come up with real solutions for the short and long term. 

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