New Website Rates and Compares IL Hospitals

Consumers provided with prices and quality ratings

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    A new website may help you find which hospital offers the best price or the most satisfactory care.

    After six years of red tape, a state-sponsored website that provides the public with information on Illinois hospitals is finally up and running.

    Consumers can now peruse a large collection of data — much of which was not available before — about Illinois hospitals and surgery centers.

    The "report card" includes information like procedure prices, what types of (and how many) procedures are performed, consumers' ratings, and how many registered nurses and/or nurses' assistants are kept on staff.

    But people may need some guidance understanding some of the data provided by the online consumer guide. For example, the prices provided are "sticker prices," which include medical services and can be negotiated with insurance companies.

    "As with all data of this kind, ask questions," at the hospital, Patricia Merryweather, senior vice president of the Illinois Hospital Association, told the Chicago Tribune.

    Still, even the sticker prices are remarkably enlightening. For example, the median list price for an inguinal hernia repair is $39,063 at the Advanced Ambulatory Surgical Center, but just $2,930 at Golf Surgical Center. Meanwhile, the median charge for a Cesarean section at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital is $29,637, compared with $6,243 at Provident Hospital of Chicago.

    The site also provides percentages of "highly satisfied" patients. The frontrunners were Northwestern Memorial Hospital (73%), Rush University Medical Center (71%), and University of Chicago Medical Center (67%). At the bottom of the pack were Loretto Hospital (32%) and Jackson Park Hospital (29%).

    Experts warn consumers not to jump to conclusions based on these numbers though. The website is meant to be a guide and encourage patients to ask their doctors and hospitals important questions about policies and procedures.

    To check out the Hospital Report Card and Consumer Guide, visit www.idph.state.il.us/ or www.healthcarereportcard.illinois.gov/.

    Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign.