Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hospitals for Change

Three of the largest hospital groups have agreed to contribute $155 billion towards the cost of insuring the 47 million Americans without coverage over the next 10 years. The majority of the savings would come through lower Medicare and Medicaid payments to hospitals.

The catch in the deal seems to be an understanding that a public option for insurance would reimburse at higher levels. The groups supporting this position are the American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals and the Catholic Health Association.

While I'm on the subject of hospitals, have you checked out some of the rating and review sites available? Transparency is one of the keys to getting hospitals to adopt best practices for better care and lower costs but the public has to take advantage of the information that's available. The federal government site allows you to do some comparison shopping for care. For safety, quality and efficiency try the Leapfrog Group site. To find hospitals with a problem stopping the spread of infections try the Consumers Union site.

Consumers of health care are going to have to talk about the choice of hospitals with their doctors and stop simply going along with whatever he/she suggests. Without consumer pressure there is no reason for hospitals to change how they do business.

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