It may seem that comparing healthcare organizations is about as easy as comparing apples to oranges... but it doesn't have to be that hard! Here are two websites that can help you make smart, accurate healthcare decisions by comparing hospital 'charges' and 'quality'.
Iowa Hospital Charges Compare is provided by the Iowa Hospital Association and allows health care consumers to access basic information about services and charges at Iowa hospitals. Information provided on the website is based on hospital "charges."
A hospital "charge" is not the same as "expected payment." "Charge" is the amount billed for a service. In the vast majority of cases, hospitals are paid considerably less than the billed amount. Because each person's case is different based on that patient's medical condition, a given patient's charge will not necessarily be the same as the average or median charge. Furthermore, the actual amount paid by a patient will depend on that patient's insurance coverage.
Iowa Hospital Charges Compare should be considered a starting point for comparing costs of care between Iowa hospitals. Patients should contact individual hospitals to get further details about the possible cost of their care. Patients should also talk with their insurance provider to understand which costs will be covered and which will be the patient's responsibility.
Hospital Compare is a website managed by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid that has information about the quality of care at over 4,000 Medicare-certified hospitals across the country. Health care consumers can use Hospital Compare to find hospitals and compare the quality of their care.
The information on Hospital Compare can help you make decisions about where to receive your health care, encourages hospitals to improve the quality of care they provide, and gives you a “snapshot” of the quality of hospitals in your area and across the nation by looking at the following aspects of healthcare:
Timely and effective care
Readmissions, complications, and deaths
Use of medical imaging
Number of Medicare patients