New Online Resource from Medicare Provides Easy-To-Use Quality Comparison Information

by Rebecca Farley on August 15, 2011

Recognizing that it can be difficult to find health care providers that meet your needs, Medicare has created a variety of comparison tools to help consumers make informed decisions. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) this week announced that all of Medicare’s resources to compare providers and plans are now available in one place, Medicare’s Quality Care Finder, available at www.medicare.gov/qualitycarefinder.

What is the Quality Care Finder?

The Quality Care Finder on Medicare.gov offers tools such as Hospital Compare, Nursing Home Compare, and Plan Finder in one place that show objective information about the quality of health care providers and plans. These tools help consumers make “apples to apples” comparisons among similar types of providers and plans. For example, you can check how often hospitals in your area give the recommended care for certain conditions, compare nursing homes by their star ratings, look at health plan costs side-by-side, and more.

Why should Medicare.gov be the first stop when looking for a new provider?

  • The quality of health care providers and facilities you choose can impact your health.  Providers and facilities may vary in how well they care for patients, and their experience with specific health conditions or procedures.
  • Finding the right expertise and care for your needs may help speed up your recovery time and improve health problems.
  • Getting personalized information when choosing a health plan may help you save on costs.
  • Medicare’s Quality Care Finder helps you find all these tools in one place so you can choose the most appropriate providers and plans for you and your loved ones.

What kind of comparison information is available?

  • Compare Hospitals: Use Hospital Compare to compare Medicare-certified hospitals based on the quality of their care (for example, the rate of readmission to the hospital within 30 days for certain conditions, like heart attack and pneumonia).
  • Compare Nursing Homes: Use Nursing Home Compare to find Medicare-certified nursing homes based on services like dementia care, ventilators or rehabilitation. Then compare their star ratings and the quality of care they give (for example, whether residents have gotten their flu shots, are in pain, or are losing weight).
  • Compare Home Health Agencies: Use Home Health Compare to find Medicare-certified home health agencies based on services like skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech therapy and home health aides. Then compare each home health agency based on the quality of their care (for example, how well they manage pain and treat wounds, keep patients safe, and more).
  • Find a Medicare Health or Drug Plan: Use Plan Finder to get detailed, personalized information about the cost and benefits of available Medicare health and drug plans.
  • Compare Dialysis Facilities: Use Dialysis Facility Compare to find Medicare-certified dialysis facilities and their services. Then compare each facility based on quality of care (for example, whether patients had enough waste removed from their blood during dialysis treatments, or if their anemia was controlled properly).
  • Compare Doctors: Use Physician Compare to find doctors based on medical specialty, clinical training, foreign languages spoken, and more (for example, whether a doctor accepts the Medicare-approved amount as full payment).

Visit www.medicare.gov/qualitycarefinder to start using these tools. Data are collected and updated regularly to ensure accurate information to help consumers make the best choices. Medicare recommends that you should discuss the information with your doctor and loved ones, and visit the facilities you are considering.

 

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