Picking a hospital? See new state site
May 29, 2009
Consumers now have access to useful but hard-to-find health information, including hospital infection rates and the cost of blood pressure medication, thanks to a Web site created by Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration.
The site, www.floridahealthfinder.gov, enables consumers to comparison shop for hospitals, nursing homes, HMOs, PPOs and prescription drugs. It was unveiled Wednesday.
"We are committed to giving Floridians the tools they need to make good decisions about their health care and the health care of their families," Holly Benson, secretary of the agency, says in a written announcement.
The hospital infection rate is information Florida medical centers fought to keep confidential until legislation five years ago forced its release.
Lobbyists for the Florida Hospital Association resisted disclosure and argued consumers would misinterpret data or make poor choices. Advocates for the Consumers Union countered that the public has a right to access the information when making health care decisions.
Florida became the first state in the country to list infection rates for individual hospitals, using the categories "higher than expected," "lower than expected" and "as expected."
The new site includes hospital complication rates on treatments for postoperative hip fracture, pressure sores, deep blood clot in the lungs or legs after surgery and other problems.
Consumers also can shop for hospital care based on cost alone.
One shortcoming is dated data: Hospital inpatient information is nearly a year old, and the most recent hospital financial data is from the end of fiscal 2007.
Back to Tampa Tribune Page. . .
Back to Home Page. . .