Ever feel as though you have no control over your healthcare options or the cost of medical procedures? One way to keep healthcare costs in line is to research doctors and hospitals before you check in, says Sarah Loughran of Health Grades, a company that rates healthcare providers. Jean talks with Sarah about the importance of looking into doctors and hospitals.
Sarah says medical bills skyrocket for many reasons—botched procedures that require additional surgery and malpractice suits that drive costs up are just a few. Sarah says it's important to investigate your doctor and hospital in advance so you can be sure you're being treated the best way possible. First, she says, check to see whether the physician is board certified or if they have any malpractice suits against them. Also look into what other patients have to say about them. "All of that taken together in context helps you make a decision on who you would like to see," Sarah says.
Sarah shares other tips that can help you pick a qualified doctor or hospital:
Most doctors will track their own success rates relative to the surgeries they have performed. Ask your doctor for those figures—if the doctor seems offended or says no to your request, you may want to look at a different doctor, Sarah says. If you're the patient and aren't comfortable piping up, have your spouse or another close family member ask the doctor for you.
Many states provide malpractice information on physicians, and the federal government's Medicare program provides information on hospitals. Check your state government's home page for more information.