Provided by Virginia Health Information. Website: www.VHI.org
VIRGINIA HOSPITALS: A CONSUMER'S GUIDE is intended to provide consumers and employers with up-to-date information on today's hospitals. The guide includes:
Hospitals as healing centers have been part of society since before the first millennium--almost as far back as civilized history takes us! There was even a chain of hospitals (a group of hospitals owned and operated by the same organization) as early as 230 BC. Some of the earliest hospitals existed in ancient Rome in 100 BC as important centers for the emergency care of sick and wounded soldiers. With the spread of Christianity, hospitals grew as part of the church's mission and became part of the community as they tended to health care not only for soldiers but also for all who needed it. During the Middle Ages, European communities began to take responsibility for their citizens' health care by creating voluntary hospitals.
Hospitals in America - In 1524, Cortés, built the first hospital in North America. It is called the Hospital de Jesus Nazareno and it still stands in Mexico City (see map.) The first hospital in the United States was a center created in 1663 to treat injured soldiers in New York. The first incorporated hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, was established in 1751. It is from these early church-and community-sponsored hospitals that today's hospitals have evolved.
Hospitals In Virginia - A guest house for the ill was established in 1611 at Henricus, a major English settlement near Richmond. Virginia is also home to the oldest medical college building in the South and to the 4th largest university-affiliated teaching hospital in the United States, VCU Medical Center.
Much like people, hospitals have a business self and a personal self. The business self of hospitals is their corporate structure; their personal self is reflected through the care they provide to patients - their medical-service structure. In a hospital, the corporate business self keeps things productive and humming smoothly from corporate financial performance to sheets and towels. The personal self, the personality of the hospital that you see as a patient, evolves from the hospital's mission - the commitment to the medical responsibility it has undertaken - and from the attitudes of its employees, administration and medical staff.
As you research your hospital options, the overall personality of the hospital - its corporate self and its personal self - combined with your personal medical and health needs will determine your choice. Knowing something about how a hospital is structured may help you make a more comfortable decision.
Hospitals, like all other businesses, depend on income to stay productive. Hospitals may receive their income from:
Proprietary Hospitals - Around 25% of Virginia hospitals are owned by corporations that have investors called shareholders. Shareholders invest in the corporation and expect a return on their investment. Some of the profits of these hospitals are distributed to shareholders as dividends. Corporately-owned proprietary hospitals pay federal and state corporate income tax.
Not-for-Profit Hospitals - Most Virginia hospitals are owned by the public at large or by special groups through religious affiliations or by other private or community organizations. These hospitals do not share their profits with shareholders but rather use their profits to further the mission of the organization. Nonprofit hospitals do not pay a corporate income tax to the federal government.
Another form of nonprofit hospital, the public hospital, is operated by a public entity — for example, the federal government, a military hospital or national research center. State and local governments also operate hospitals designed to serve a specific community area or a statewide area. Many state-operated hospitals provide highly specialized acute care, have medical research departments and provide certified medical training to physicians and other medical professionals.
In addition to their corporate profiles, hospitals have a medical profile. This profile describes the kinds of medical care the hospital is licensed and equipped to provide.
Acute Care General Hospitals are equipped and staffed to provide short- term, inpatient medical and surgical services for many different conditions and illnesses and provide continuous nursing services. When staffed, equipped and licensed to handle acute episodes of various illnesses and conditions, accidents or other traumas, which may or may not involve intensive care, these facilities are also classified as acute care hospitals. Therefore, hospitals that are licensed to provide various acute levels of care are known as acute care general hospitals.
Today's acute care general hospitals are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide around-the-clock emergency care, day-to-day medically necessary services and, in many cases, wellness services and other specialty services such as transplant surgery and research-based studies.
Community and Regional Hospitals - With a staff and physical facility appropriate to the patient population it serves, today's acute care general hospitals have become ready and able community-oriented medical facilities. With this newer community focus, most acute care general hospitals are being referred to as community or regional hospitals.
Over 90 percent of community hospitals have emergency facilities and are licensed as acute care hospitals. Some of these acute care general hospitals include the word 'community' in their name. A community-based acute care general hospital may be an urban (city) facility, a rural facility or may be designed and staffed to serve both urban and rural populations, thereby becoming a regional hospital. A community or regional hospital can be large - as many as 500 licensed or staffed beds (that is, they can treat 500 patients at one time) - or it can be small, having as few as 10 licensed or staffed beds. Many community hospitals today may offer highly specialized services such as organ transplants. Community hospitals may be privately or publicly owned and may operate as proprietary or as nonprofit corporations.
Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) The Critical Access Hospital (CAH) program is a federal program to help rural communities keep their health care facilities. The program was established through legislation enacted as part of the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997 through the State Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex). The advantages of this program are to “offer adequate health care services that meet the needs of the community citizens (such as radiology, laboratory services, outpatient rehab and surgery; and assist in ensuring financial viability of small rural hospitals through enhanced reimbursements.”
The Critical Access Hospital program allows smaller rural hospitals to maintain quality access to primary and emergency health care services. Critical Access hospitals provide 24-hour emergency care services; but have no more than 25 inpatient beds and the length of patients’ hospitals stays averages no more than 96 hours. If a patient needs more care, they may be transferred to another hospital. Virginia currently has seven (7) designated CAH facilities:
Specialty Acute Care Hospitals - Another type of acute care hospital, a specialty acute care hospital, offers highly specialized care for a particular group of patients, such as children, long-term acute, psychiatric or rehabilitation hospital.
Teaching Hospitals - An acute care general hospital may also be accredited to teach and be classified as a teaching hospital. Teaching hospitals provide medical education facilities and training to future health care professionals. Most teaching hospitals also serve as community or regional hospitals. A teaching and/or research hospital usually has many specialty units and is able to handle state medical disasters. Virginia has both formal and informal teaching hospitals.
Formal teaching facilities are usually those that are affiliated with an accredited undergraduate medical school or university and are structured and staffed to provide both an undergraduate and postgraduate accredited medical curriculum. Postgraduate accreditation of courses is through the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME.)
Other teaching hospitals may have a less formal teaching structure because they are not directly affiliated with an undergraduate medical school or university. However, through an affiliation with an accredited medical school, these less formal teaching facilities can offer valuable clinical experience to medical interns, residents, nursing students, and other health care professionals.
Typically all teaching facilities - like almost all other acute care hospitals - are accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation for Health Care Organizations (JCAHO.) Many teaching hospitals are also active in the Council of Teaching Hospitals and Health Systems (COTH) of the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Research Hospitals - Through special research departments, teaching hospitals may also perform a vital research function. A research hospital studies ways to reduce disease and medical disability and improve medical conditions. A hospital can be both a teaching hospital and a research hospital.
Today, through specialized departments and equipment manned by trained staff, acute care hospitals deliver not only acute inpatient care services but also fulfill a rapidly growing area of health care service - outpatient care.
Inpatient Care - When medical services are performed for a patient who has been admitted for a minimum of 24 hours, it is generally considered inpatient care. Primarily, inpatient services cover any general acute care medical need including:
Outpatient Care - Due to dramatic advances in medicine, many medical and surgical procedures that used to require inpatient care can now be performed on an outpatient basis. Outpatient services generally include medically necessary treatments or procedures that do not require overnight, medically supervised care. Hence, outpatient care allows patients to return home while recovering. Services that help us stay healthy have also added to the growing outpatient service need.
Some of the outpatient services provided by most acute care general hospitals usually include:
LEVELS OF CARE
Today's modern acute care general hospitals deliver health and medical services through networks of physicians, hospitals, public and private clinics, public health professionals and health insurance companies. Care can be obtained within this system for a wide variety of medical needs. The kind or extent of the treatment or procedure a patient receives - coupled with who is responsible for the care - is what medical professionals refer to as a level of care.
The Medical Referral - A medical referral is a form of recommendation that takes place in medical services. A medical referral recommends appropriate care and refers patients to the level of care needed to fulfill the recommendation.
NOTE: The type of medical referrals discussed here are not to be confused with the physician referral programs offered to consumers through local hospitals and other consumer referral services discussed in the Finding a Physician Section.
MEDICAL LEVELS OF CARE AND MEDICAL REFERRALS
This diagram shows in a non-technical way how each level of care can move the patient to the next level of care.
Virginia currently licenses over 70* acute care general hospitals. They are located to serve Virginia's communities in major metropolitan areas, in the suburbs and in midsize and small towns across the state. Virginia's acute care general hospitals vary in mission, in their corporate profiles, as well as in their size. For example, some acute care general hospitals in Virginia have as few as 25 licensed beds and others - large regional facilities - can accommodate upwards to 1,000 patients if necessary. Some are nonprofit and some are proprietary.
*Based on data available at time of publication of this guide.
Size and ownership may not determine value or quality of care. For many conditions and illnesses, a midsize or small acute care hospital is quite sufficient. In fact, many hospitals in Virginia's smaller towns have a long-standing record for successfully serving family medical needs from birth to elder care. These are the hospitals on which most Virginian's depend for their acute care needs. When or if there is a potential need for critical or specialty care that reaches beyond a particular hospital's capability, your physician will guide you to the appropriate expanded care choice.
Small Acute Care General Community Hospitals
Many small community hospitals provide a range of inpatient and outpatient services necessary to diagnose and treat many acute care needs that may include in addition to general medical care:
Some rural community hospitals have become Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) hospitals. A CAH receives a different type of funding from Medicare and is designed to help reduce closures of small rural hospitals. CAH hospitals have a maximum of 25 beds and must provide 24-hour emergency services. CAHs are required to develop agreements with an acute care hospital related to patient referral and transfer, communication, emergency and non-emergency patient transportation. CAH hospitals have flexibility to tailor their staff and services to meet their communities needs.
Large Acute Care General Community Hospitals and Health Centers When considering your hospital options, you will find that most of the services listed for small community acute care hospitals will be available at the larger facilities. In addition, these larger, typically regional hospitals and health centers may have specialized departments such as women's centers, home health services and hospice services.
They can also provide other specialty services that may include
You may also find these large facilities staffed and equipped to provide
They may also have
For more information on hospitals in Virginia please visit www.vhi.org/hospital_region.asp
OUR TEACHING HOSPITALS
In addition to serving our acute care general hospital needs, Virginia's teaching hospitals have also earned regional and national recognition for
Acute care general teaching and/or research facilities not only provide a wide range of services but also frequently receive patients from community and other general hospitals for specialized critical care. These large facilities - though perhaps not as close to home or as intimate - may be the first choice when a trauma, infectious disease or complicated disorder dictates.
Teaching hospitals also stand ready to accept the overflow from other general hospitals when regional disasters or large community emergency needs arise. These units have heliports for receiving critical care patients from other hospitals and from accidents and community disasters.
For more information on hospitals in Virginia please visit www.vhi.org/hospital_region.asp
Hospital care as we know it today has evolved rapidly. Physician expansion into specialties and the new equipment that goes with those specialties has pushed hospital growth. Physicians and hospitals working together have moved to center the hospital as a widely based treatment facility.
Cost Containment - With rapid growth came the increased cost of expanded technology - equipment that costs millions of dollars, specialists who have earned the right to charge for their abilities and the price tag on the state-of-the-art facilities built to house it all. Government, businesses and consumers were affected by the initial surge in costs. Beginning in 1984, a serious attempt was made by our government, insurers and medical service providers to put some cost controls in place.
Led by Medicare and Medicaid programs, the health care system began its move from a fee-for-service schedule of payments -"we'll pay the bill"- to a regionalized fixed-fee -"we'll pay what we figure it's worth"- system of reimbursement. Health care insurance companies quickly followed. Over time these changes in the system brought about a need for hospitals to become more efficient, to provide their patients with the most appropriate medical services and to return their patients to health as quickly as possible. In doing so, hospitals became more productive. Many hospitals found other answers to cost reduction challenges. Merger with or acquisition of companies or groups of professionals - like insurance companies or physician groups - that could provide some of the services hospitals needed to increase efficiencies was one of them. With these business-oriented changes, standard business distribution methods were also put in place. Physicians and managed care plans became the "distributors" for hospital products and services. And, realizing their distributors needed some help in approaching the consumer with new services, hospitals began to advertise their facilities, staff and services directly to their ultimate consumer - the patient.
The most recent significant change is related to patient safety and quality beginning in the 1990s with the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) report on medication errors. The Joint Commission, the IOM, the Institute of Healthcare Improvement and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) made efforts towards increasing quality and safer care for patients. With the Patient Quality and Safety Initiatives--effective in October 2008 CMS will not pay hospitals more for care complicated by certain hospital acquired conditions. These conditions will likely change over time but initially include infections, objects left in during surgery and pressure ulcers (bed sores).
Hospital Centered Care - Other changes in hospital structure and service have occurred as a result of consumer feedback and new levels of demand for information and assistance. Today's consumer wants to maintain health. When ill, they want to return to health quickly, and they want a say-so in how this is accomplished. Because, on a daily basis, the demands exceed the average physician's ability to provide all the services we want, the community hospital has become the center for today's expanded health care needs.
More Information, Better Information - Consumers have increased accessibility to information that helps them make good decisions about who delivers their health care and where they go to receive it. As the data becomes easier to understand and act on, consumers will be more able to communicate their needs and desires back to the providers. As many already do, hospitals will respond by providing what consumers have defined as quality health care. Through rapid advancements in computers and telecommunications and advanced medical imaging, hospital services will reach more people.
Outcomes - Though not all consumers think alike about health care, there is one thing that frequently is part of our definition of quality hospital health care: They were returned to health. To better ensure patient satisfaction and meet quality requirements in health care, today's consumers are choosing hospitals that have experience in a needed procedure and can demonstrate their successes.
Respect - There may be other emotionally based attitudes and opinions held by consumers when assessing the quality of the hospital care they receive. They expect continuity and coordination in their care, smooth transitions from illness to health, better emotional support that includes the involvement of family and friends and staff sensitivity to the inconveniences a hospitalization can create. Patients also expect to feel respected and their hospital will enforce patient information confidentiality policies. Patients want to know that their problems will be taken seriously and want sufficient time with their physician. And, they want attention shown to their personal needs. When they leave the hospital, they want clear instructions that include information about their health, that alert them to danger signals and that advise them about the resumption of normal activities.
THE PATIENT'S BILL OF RIGHTS
The expectations of quality care are supported for every patient treated in an American Hospital Association (AHA) member hospital. In 1973, AHA member hospitals voted to adopt a Patient's Bill of Rights and revised it in 1992. In 2001, AHA hospitals replaced “A Patient’s Bill of Rights” with “The Patient Care Partnership: Understanding Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities.” The new statement “a straightforward, plain language statement that clearly outlines what patients should expect during their hospital visit.” ©2003 American Hospital Association. All rights reserved
A copy of the full version may be obtained through an AHA member hospital in your area or from the AHA (see FOR MORE INFORMATION in this guide) http://www.aha.org/aha/issues/Communicating-With-Patients/pt-care-partnership.html. Rights and responsibilities - both are important to your hospital care. Be sure to ask for a copy of this commitment during a hospital admission process.
What to expect during your hospital stay:
“Patient safety is one of the Nation's most pressing health care challenges. A 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine estimates that as many as 44,000 to 98,000 people die in U.S. hospitals each year as the result of lapses in patient safety.” The AHRQ consumer fact sheet “Five Steps to Safer Health Care Patient Fact Sheet” tells what you can do to get safer health care. It was developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association. http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/5steps.htm AHRQ Publication No. 04-M005 Current as of February 2004.
Medicare Patients have additional rights including a review of your hospital discharge by the Quality Improvement Organization. You have the right to ask a Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) to review whether you are being discharged too soon. To view these rights go to www.cms.gov/medicare/appeals-and-grievances/mmcag/downloads/rightsandprotections.pdf
THE PATIENT'S BILL OF RIGHTS
Below is a checklist, abbreviated from the AHA Statement “The Patient Care Partnership: Understanding Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities”
Tell your caregivers if you have concerns about your care or if you have pain.
You have the right to know the identity of doctors, nurses and others involved in your care, including if they are students, residents or other trainees.
If anything unexpected and significant happens during your hospital stay, you will be told what happened, and any resulting changes in your care will be discussed with you. Discussing your medical condition and information about medically appropriate treatment choices.
The benefits and risks of each treatment.
Whether your treatment is experimental or part of a research study.
What you can reasonably expect from your treatment and any long-term effects it might have on your quality of life.
What you and your family will need to do after you leave the hospital.
The financial consequences of using uncovered services or out-of-network providers.
Please tell your caregivers if you need more information about treatment choices.
Consenting to treatment such as surgery or experimental treatment to confirm in writing that you understand what is planned and agree to it.
You have the right to consent to or refuse a treatment and an explanation from your doctor about the medical consequences of refusing recommended treatment.
It is your right to decide if you want to participate in a research study.
If you or your family need help making difficult decisions, counselors, chaplains and others are available to help.
You will receive a Notice of Privacy Practices that describes the ways that the hospital can use, disclose and safeguard patient information and that explains how you can obtain a copy of information from their records about your care.
You can expect the hospital staff to help you identify sources of follow-up care and to let you know if the hospital has a financial interest in any referrals.
As long as you agree that the hospital can share information about your care with referral sources, they will coordinate their activities with your caregivers outside the hospital.
You can also expect to receive information and, where possible, training about the self-care you will need when you go home.
You can expect help with billing information and what to do if you do not have insurance.
What Your Caregivers Needs From You.
Complete and correct information about your health and coverage so that they can make good decisions about your care.
Past illnesses, surgeries or hospital stays.
Past allergic reactions.
Any medicines or dietary supplements (such as vitamins and herbs) that you are taking.
Any network or admission requirements under your health plan.
Make sure your doctor, your family and your care team know your wishes related to health care goals, spiritual beliefs and values.
If you have signed a health care power of attorney stating who should speak for you if you become unable to make health care decisions for yourself, or a “living will” or “advance directive” that states your wishes about end-of-life care; give copies to your doctor, your family and your care team.
If you have Medicare or Medicaid, you have additional rights, including an appeal process if you think you are being asked to leave the hospital too soon or are not receiving a service you think you should. For more information, view Medicare Publication ID: 10050
The information below was developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association.
Exactly what will you be doing?
About how long will it take?
What will happen after the surgery?
How can I expect to feel during recovery?
Tell the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and nurses about any allergies, bad reaction to anesthesia, and any medications you are taking.
Determining which hospital is best for you and your family may require some planning and thought
Many consumers choose a hospital first and then select an affiliated physician. Other people may feel more comfortable selecting a physician first and including his or her input in their hospital choice.
If you make a hospital choice first, to then select a physician you may want to use the physician referral services offered by the hospitals you have identified in your search. The four steps that follow provide
GETTING AN OVERVIEW OF YOUR OPTIONS
Virginia's DHP website www.vahealthprovider.com is a good source of information when searching for a physician. Using a physician referral service offered by one of your local hospitals can be another helpful tool to find an appropriate physician - and a hospital!
You can find physician referral services by calling a hospital to ask if they offer a consumer physician referral service. If they do, you can access the information you need during the call. Or, you can find a referral service by checking a hospital's yellow page advertisement for a physician referral service phone number. Also, hospitals will often feature referral services in newspaper advertising.
Once you have identified a physician you would like to consider you can contact the physician or add the information to the physician information you find
If your health insurance is a managed care plan (an HMO, a PPO and/or a POS feature in a health plan) another source of physician referral is available to you through the plan's pre-approved lists of health care providers. Since hospitals are also listed, your approved provider list is also a good way to begin your search for the hospital that best suits your needs.
All are good ways to begin a search for a primary or family physician or for a specialist. And all are as close as your computer or telephone!
GETTING AN OVERVIEW OF YOUR OPTIONS
If you have time to research and plan your hospital selection, the following is a checklist of things you may want to do first to develop a working list of hospitals to consider.
Discuss the list of hospitals with your physician or specialist you have identified as ones that meet your and your family’s needs.
During a regular visit or annual checkup, ask your primary care physician or a specialist you see on a regular basis — a gynecologist for example — to give you his or her views on the hospitals they routinely recommend. Also take this opportunity to discuss the services you would like to receive at a hospital over and above special medical care, such as wellness programs or health-related seminars. Ask about the advantages or special characteristics of each hospital where he or she practices. Your physician’s input is important because your medical history and/or present medical condition may affect your hospital choice. For a comprehensive personal evaluation, visiting the hospital will give you a better view of its practices and personality.
Important to Note: If you make a special appointment with a physician to review your hospital options, you may be expected to pay for it as an uncovered expense. Ask about the physician’s policy concerning charges for consultative visits when you call to make the appointment.
Check your health insurance plan. Traditional health insurance plans, indemnity or fee-for-service for example, do not usually limit your hospital choices to a pre-agreed-upon list of hospitals or physicians. If you are covered by a traditional plan, a call to your plan administrator will confirm coverage for a particular hospital choice.
If you are covered by a managed care plan - HMO, PPO, or an HMO or plan with a POS feature - you may already have a list of the hospitals that participate in your plan. You will want to review this list against the hospitals you are considering or choose hospitals to review from those that participate in your plan. With managed care coverage, you may elect a non-participating hospital but there may be additional costs. If you feel strongly about a particular facility, contact your plan administrator before ruling it out. Or include all of the hospitals you want to consider - those in and out of the plan - and decide after your review if your beliefs and opinions about your choice are strong enough to offset potential additional costs.
Take a class or attend a seminar offered by one or more of the hospitals on your list.
You will usually find these advertised in your local paper or may receive notice of them in the mail. If not, call the hospital you are considering and ask for information on upcoming community classes and seminars. Some may be free or there may be a minimal charge.
Ask for a tour of the hospitals you are considering.
Take the opportunity to talk to the nursing staff during your visit. And take a copy of this guide's assessment checklist (STEP THREE) with you so you can rate your options later.
Put VHI's hospital information to work.
If you know you will be entering a hospital in the future for a particular procedure, such as childbirth or surgery, and want information about a particular hospital's experience in the specialty you will need, VHI's service line and other hospital information can help you learn more about how often they provide certain care and, for some conditions, the quality of care they provide. VHI also provides links to other trusted sources of quality.
Ask for a copy of the hospital's consumer satisfaction survey results or a report card on their facility.
Many hospitals conduct consumer or patient satisfaction surveys to determine how well they perform in the patient's view. Many hospitals are proud of the results and share them with prospective patients. Ask for a copy and compare the survey results with other information you have collected. Also, some hospitals prepare report cards on their facility, including the outcomes of many procedures. You may also want to ask for a copy of this report as well.
CMS also has patient satisfaction information at www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov
GETTING AN OVERVIEW OF YOUR OPTIONS
Since there is basic data to gather for each hospital you are considering, you may want to copy this two page assessment tool and fill one out for each hospital visited.
NAME OF HOSPITAL:
WHEN YOU VISIT, ASK FOR...
A copy of the hospital’s Patient’s Bill of Rights document
A Patient Information Packet
A written description of the hospital’s services and fees
An annual report or statement of organization
A hospital report card on general performance issues or the results of hospital’s latest patient satisfaction survey
HOSPITAL QUALITY ATTRIBUTES
Accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO)
Percentage of physicians with privileges at the hospital (and/or staff physicians) who are Board Certified*
Number of Registered Nurses to each patient overall
Number of Nurse Specialists (master’s degree) in hospital units
Ratio of Licensed Practical Nurses to each patient overall
Ratio of graduate nurses and licensed practical nurses to each patient in
specialty area: 1 nurse to:
Participates in clinical trials
Services and specialties provided by the hospital meet your specific health goals and potential medical needs
Financial aid services available
Assistance in filing insurance claims
Social Services assistance in hospital as well as post-discharge follow up
HOSPITAL TOUR CHECKPOINTS
Hospital conveniently located
Courtesy Van service available
Hospital presents a clean appearance and pleasant air
Lobby greeting warm, friendly, relaxed
Comfortable waiting room
Vending machines nearby
Visitor phone in the waiting room
Patient rooms inviting and cheery, conducive to recovery
Patient rooms have comfortable chairs for visitors
Privacy considered in the room design
Television, internet, radio service
Television, internet service at extra cost. Paid by day/week
Discharge plan is developed for you before you leave the hospital
Provides patient/caretaker with necessary training to continue care at home
Includes training in
Provides patient/family with written instructions on at-home care
Provides written plan for return to health (normal activity)
ABOUT THE PHYSICIAN/SURGEON
Physician/surgeon who will perform the procedure is Board Certified
Particular procedure is performed frequently (annual basis) by physician
Has success rate in a specific medical procedure you need
Has responsibility for maintaining your personal care plan
GETTING AN OVERVIEW OF YOUR OPTIONS
This is a scorecard designed to help you compare your hospital options. There is space to compare three hospitals. You may want to copy these pages to use as your work sheets.
HOW TO RATE
By Using Points: Assign 3 points if the benefit is very important to you, 2 points if the benefit is moderately important, 1 point if the benefit is not important, and 0 if the hospital does not have the feature or benefit.
By Using Check Marks: The hospital with the most check marks rates highest. See “Other” to add personal items to consider or special services you may need.
Virginia Department of Health Office of Licensure and Certification
The office of Licensure and Certification of the Virginia Department of Health ( http://www.vdh.state.va.us/OLC/contacts.htm) has the responsibility to investigate any complaints regarding alleged violations of regulation or applicable law regarding the following facilities and services:
Complaints can be made in writing at
Virginia Department of Health
The Acute Care division is responsible for the licensing of hospitals, home care and hospice programs. The division monitors managed care health insurance plans and private review agents and, under CLIA, conducts the certification inspections for clinical laboratories. This division is also responsible for the Medicare certification of hospitals, home health agencies and hospice programs as well as a variety of medical services and facilities.
Virginia Health Quality Center (VHQC) Investigates Medicare quality of care facility complaints concerning Medicare patients.
On the Web: vhqc.org
9830 Mayland Drive, Suite J
Richmond, VA 23233
Toll Free: 1-800-545-3814
Main Office: 804-289-5320
MEDICARE INFORMATION: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)
BENEFICIARY HELPLINE: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)
PROVIDER HELPLINE: 1-800-854-5244 OR 1-804-289-5303
Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association represents Virginia hospitals and publishes information on health care providers in Virginia.
On the Web: vhha.com
4200 Innslake Drive
Glen Allen, VA 23060
P.O. Box 31394
Richmond, VA 23294-1394
American Board of Medical Specialties® Certified Doctor Locator and Verification Services allows the public to verify the board certification status of any physician who is certified by one or more of the 24 member boards of the ABMS and who has subscribed to be listed. This service also allows the public to locate a board certified physician in his or her area (by zip code.)
On the web: https://www.abms.org
American Board of Medical Specialties
1007 Church Street, Suite 404
Evanston, IL 60201-5913
Toll Free: 1-866-ASK-ABMS (1-866-275-2267)
On the web: www.aha.org
One North Franklin
Chicago, Illinois 60606
Toll Free: 1-800-424-4301
Washington DC Office
325 7th St. NW
Washington, DC 20004-2802
On the web: www.aamc.org
2450 N Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037-1126
Office of Information Services
Division of Freedom of Information and Privacy
7500 Security Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21244-1850
Phone: 1-410-786-5353 or 410-786-0474
For further information, contact the Administrator at
Center for Medicare and Medicaid
Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue SW.
Washington, DC 20201
Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations accredits hospitals/healthcare organizations for administrative, medical, facility and quality of care issues. Has an active complaint department to assist consumers/patients with concerns. On the web: www.jointcommission.org
One Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois 60181
Office of Quality Monitoring/Complaint Operations Unit:
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