June 21, 2007--Posted at 5:15 pm CDT
Washington- The Federal government has delivered its diagnosis of local hospitals across the country.
Using cardiac care as a yardstick, officials have compiled ratings that allow you to see how your hospital compares to others.
Most Americans probably don't think much about the quality of their local hospital. Now, consumers might want to consider doing research ahead of time.
For the first time ever, the government is making information available that allows the public to see how well hospitals care for patients suffering from heart attacks and heart failure. And it's all online.
This means patients will have information they need available to make decisions about their own care. Hospitals will be placed in one of three categories based on their performance: "no different than the U.S. national rate", "better than the U.S. national rate", and "worse than the U.S. national rate".
Through the site, patients will be able to find out how heart attack and heart failure patients fared at their local hospital within 30 days of being admitted, even if they were discharged and sent home.
The new information that's available is not just life or death. The HHS plans to provide information including doctor performance and responsiveness , hospital cleanliness, and post-surgical complications.
So what about the hospitals that aren't up to snuff? Well, the government says there are no plans to take corrective action. They expect hospitals will change their ways when patients go elsewhere.
To get the information, log on to the "hospital compare" website: