How to Check a Hospital’s References

problems with computer virusThe most important thing about choosing a hospital is the quality of the doctors and nurses who work there. Did you know you can check a hospital’s references? You can! Start by checking the doctors’ credentials first.

Here is what to look for:

1. Where did the doctor receive his or her training?
Some medical schools are better than others. Follow up with an online search for school ratings and reviews.

2. Is your doctor “board certified?”
Doctors graduate from medical school and go on to do a residency, fellowship or other training. When they finish their training, they can choose to take a test called the “boards.” A doctor who is “board certified,” must take a regularly scheduled test to stay up-to-date with his or her skills.

3. How often does your doctor perform the surgery or procedure you are getting?
How many times have they successfully performed this procedure? How frequently? Be sure to consider the patient’s age when asking. For example, if your 2-year-old child is getting an operation, find out how often your doctor operates on 2-year-olds. It is very different to perform surgery on a healthy adult versus a small child.

4. Does your doctor have specialized training in your particular condition?
Will a general surgeon perform your surgery or a specialist who specializes in the type of surgery you are getting?

Have you ever investigated your hospitals references? What other questions would you add to this list? I’d love to hear from you!

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Has ObamaCare Slowed ER Visits?

Doctor with female patientSurprisingly, no. Most hospitals report that ER visits are on the rise. Three quarters of ER doctors report that since ObamaCare has been in effect the ER is seeing more patients than ever before. This is contrary to the goal of ObamaCare. What happened?

There are a lot of different answers.

  1. People have insurance but there are not enough primary care doctors to see them.
  2. ObamaCare expanded Medicaid and many primary care doctors won’t accept Medicaid due to its low reimbursement.
  3. The newly insured cannot take off work to see a primary care doctor or lack transportation or child care. (Source: USA Today Article)

All of these factors make the ER often the best or only option.

Should you use the ER for your healthcare? Not if you can avoid it.

  1. Call your insurance company and ask for a recommendation to a primary care physician. If you have a Medicaid HMO, a primary care physician will be assigned to you.
  2. Schedule your first appointment when you are not sick. It is important to establish a relationship with your doctor BEFORE you are so sick that you get referred to the ER.
  3. Pick a doctor who has late night or weekend hours if you can’t miss work during the week. Many physicians are now offering more convenient appointment times.
  4. Be proactive and take responsibility for your healthcare. It’s the only way to stay healthy and avoid expensive ER visits.

Have you ever gone to the ER and wished later that you had not? I’d love to hear from you!

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Helpful Healthcare Links: April 30, 2015

KATHMANDU, NEPAL - CIRCA DEC, 2013: Unidentified child and his pOur helpful health care links focus on two hot topics in healthcare this week– An update on the devastating earthquake in Nepal and an what it looks like when a healthcare record is hijacked. Both are worth your time. And, as always, if you ever come across a healthcare story that you think merits more attention, please send it our way!

Inside Nepal’s Next Challenge: Overflowing Hospitals

Hospitals throughout Nepal are flooded with patients, with thousands in need of care for acute injuries after a massive earthquake that the country’s leader said may have killed up to 10,000.

A Day in the Life of a Stolen Healthcare Record

The process of divining the provenance of stolen healthcare records. These records typically are processed or handled by a gauntlet of third party firms, most of which have no direct relationship with the patient or customer ultimately harmed by the breach.


P.S.–TODAY is your last day to sign up for the ObamaCare Enrollment Extension!

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