Selecting a Hospital, Home Health Care, Nursing Home, or other Health Care Facility
This site was archived by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), however it still has good information.  Click on any of the links in the left-hand column for advice on choosing a hospital or long-term care as well as a doctor or health plan.  AHRQ also has a current compendium of healthcare report cards.  Search for the one that fits your needs here.
This survey rates patient experience with aspects of care such as communication with doctors and nurses, pain control, cleanliness, and discharge planning.  It also gives comparisons on certain procedures known as "core measures." These include things like prevention of infections after surgery and giving certain drugs when a patient suffers a heart attack.
Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
Click on "Quality Check" to either view a summary of a facility's performance rating or, if available, you can download an extensive report on whether or not patient safety goals and national quality improvement goals were met (that may pertain to a procedure you're considering).  You can also check on mortality rates and patient satisfaction survey results.

Although HealthGrades will provide very limited information about doctors and nursing homes for free (full reports are available for a charge), it's more useful when seeking out information about which hospital might be best for a particular procedure.  A five-star rating system is used to evaluate the hospitals on each type of surgery.  In addition, Centers of Excellence are also listed. 

This website is from the Association of Health Care Journalists. It provide information on cited deficiencies during complaint inspections. It covers acute care and critical access hospitals. The website only covers complaints and not routine inspections. It also doesn't cover hospital responses.

AARP's Home Health Agency Search Engine
In addition to providing some very helpful articles on selecting a home health agency, this site also links to Medicare's Home Health Agency Online Comparison Tool, which will allow you to search for agencies within a geographical area.  Additionally, you can look for those agencies providing specialized care such as physical or occupational therapy and other services.  You might find AARP's "Choosing an Agency for In-Home Care" short video helpful, as well.  AARP also produces a helpful Nursing Homes Checklist and an Assisted-Living Facility Checklist if you ever need to select a facility to help meet your needs.

Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council
Although the statistics are not from the current year, the site continues to be updated -- particularly through the news releases. Figures are available for specific Pennsylvania Hospitals on cardiac surgery, hospital-acquired infections, and a wide variety of other conditions.  Interactive databases allow you to search out and compare number of cases, mortality, length of stay, and average hospital charges for various procedures.  Similar information, although not as detailed, can also be found at the American Hospital Directory site.  More detailed information is only available to subscribers, but you'll also be able to see statistics for hospitals in other states as well.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Quality Assurance Facility Directory
Patient Care and Building Safety Surveys can be viewed for a variety of facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, drug and alcohol facilities, home health care agencies, and surgery centers.  You can look at a particular geographic region or search for a particular facility.  A particularly useful feature is the Nursing Home Locator, which will allow you to compare facilities for treatment of residents and level of potential harm.
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Disclaimer:  The information contained at this website is not intended to replace the care of a primary care physician, specialist, or other professional health care provider.  It is intended solely to complement  that care and is for general informational purposes only.  Any health information found on the Internet should always be discussed with your health care provider.
This page is maintained by the library staff of  Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, a member of the Health Information Library Network of Northeastern Pennsylvania (HILNNEP). 
Last updated: May 10, 2013