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Consumers

Choosing a Hospital & Provider

If you have a medical emergency, you should always go to the nearest hospital. If you don’t have a medical emergency, plan ahead to learn which hospital will best meet your health care needs and preferences.

When you are involved in your health care, like choosing your hospital, it can lead to better care, better results, and more satisfaction.

With more than 250 licensed hospitals across Pennsylvania, there’s many choices for your care.

Finding the right hospital for you is a very personal choice and may be based on a lot of factors. Use the information below to help make an informed choice.

 

A Checklist for Choosing a Hospital

  • Understand Your Care
  • Learn About Your Hospital Choices
  • Learn About Hospital Quality
  • Think about Your Personal Needs
  • Think about Your Financial Needs

Understand Your Care

Make sure you understand the medical procedure or treatment your doctor is recommending. Talk with your doctor about it, including:

  • Why it is needed
  • Other treatment options
  • Risks and benefits
  • Side effects
  • Possible problems
  • What would likely happen if there was no treatment

In addition, ask your doctor which hospitals have had the best results with your procedure or treatment, which hospitals your doctor works with, if you will need a surgeon or other specialist, and what care you will need after leaving the hospital.

Learn About Your Hospital Choices

There are more than 250 licensed hospitals in Pennsylvania that provide a variety of services from maternity care to cancer treatment to specialized surgery. Each hospital may provide different services depending upon the health care needs of the community. 

You can learn more about hospitals in Pennsylvania and the services they offer by calling them directly or by going to their website. Use the online hospital directory to get started.

Learn About Hospital Quality

Hospitals provide quality care by giving patients the care and treatments that are known to get the best results. Pennsylvania hospitals have a long-standing pledge to provide the highest level of quality care.

Hospitals have programs to check and improve the quality of care they provide. There are a variety of ways to learn more about hospital quality, including:

  • Ask your doctor
  • Ask your insurance company—many insurance companies keep records on the quality of hospitals
  • Ask the hospital—most hospitals have information available on their websites or by request
  • Check with other sources—many public and private groups offer a growing range of hospital quality reports

Consider Your Personal Needs

When choosing which hospital is right for you, consider your preferences, such as how far it is. For example, do you want a hospital near your family members or friends? How far will you have to drive, especially if you will have follow-up visits?

You may want to think about the visiting hours or other rules that may be important to you. For example, can a relative or someone helping with your care stay overnight in the room with you?

Finally, you may want to visit the hospital. Call ahead and make an appointment for a tour. Ask to see a patient room or different types of patient rooms. Have a snack or a meal in the cafeteria.

Consider Your Financial Needs

You may want to discuss the medical procedure or treatment with your health insurance company to make sure it is covered under your health insurance policy.

Find out which hospitals and doctors are covered. Ask if you need permission from your health plan (like a pre-authorization or a referral) before you’re admitted for hospital care.

If you don’t have insurance, contact the hospital before you are admitted, and ask to speak to someone about setting up a payment plan or other resources to help with payment. Learn more about finding insurance coverage for your care.

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