Jul 20, 2012

Choosing quality health care every step of the way

Member for

1 year

It can be a bit intimidating to choose a hospital for surgery or to make plans for when you’re discharged.  Whenever you or a loved one with Medicare moves from one health care setting to another, use Hospital Compare, Home Health Compare and Nursing Home Compare to help you make smooth and safe transitions.

If you need surgery, make sure you and your plan of care team find a provider that meets your needs. Hospital Compare lets you compare up to 3 hospitals in your area to see how they did with different situations, such as giving their surgery patients an antibiotic at the right time to help prevent infection. It will also tell you about patient experience, such as the percentage of patients who reported “yes,” they would definitely recommend the hospital. Next, use our discharge planning checklist [PDF, 276 KB] to help plan your next steps.

Where will you go once you’ve left the hospital? You might need home health services if your family and friends can’t effectively care for you and you’re not able to leave home without considerable effort. Medicare covers the cost of home health care if you’re eligible and your doctor says you need them.

You can use Home Health Compare to see how often a home health agency used best practices when caring for its patients and whether its patients got better in certain important areas of care. Once you narrow down your choices, our 12-point home health agency checklist can help you choose an agency that meets your needs.

In some cases, you and your plan of care team may decide you need to go to a nursing home instead of getting home health services. Medicare doesn’t cover most nursing home costs. Under certain limited conditions, Medicare will pay some nursing home costs if you need skilled nursing or rehabilitation services. Nursing Home Compare can help you find detailed information about every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country. Once you narrow down your choices, use our nursing home checklist [PDF, 201 KB] to help you judge the places you call or visit.

You and your plan of care team have many important decisions to make whenever you move from a hospital to home health care or to a nursing home. Let our checklists and Hospital Compare, Home Health Compare and Nursing Home Compare help you make informed choices.