When choosing a hospital to have your next test or procedure at, it is essential that the care you receive is the best and in line with what you are paying. With the release of the first-ever nationwide assessment of safety grades by the independent Leapfrog Group, making the choice for care at the best hospital just became easier. Hospital safety results were determined by grading each facility on 26 variables ranging from the frequency of medical mix-ups to acquired injuries and infections. This information was gathered through data collected through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Patients often go to the hospital that their physician sends them to, sometimes regardless of the facility’s health safety score. One of the report’s purposes is to provide information to patients so that they may be more apt to discuss their options with physicians, taking into consideration the safety of each hospital. Apart from safety, patients have the right to know their options when it comes to medical testing. Though your physician may send you downstairs at your local hospital to receive your MRI, the service and price may be better at an independent facility. The importance of making your own choice in where you receive care is only further emphasized when you are a self-pay patient. In this case, price shopping is necessary as an MRI at a local hospital may cost you two to three times more than at a neighboring independent facility.

Apart from safety scores and pricing, the bottom line in taking control of your healthcare is knowing that you have the right to choose the quality and place you receive your care. Thankfully there are resources to help with these decisions. Choosing a physician can be difficult but HealthGrades.com does the research for patients. When pricing is the issue, SaveOnMedical.com is the perfect resource to compare the cost of a variety of medical services within your community. Combining tools such as these, allows patients to make conscious decisions for their health and become a responsible healthcare consumer. To read more about how Nebraska hospitals measured up in their safety grade, visit the Omaha World Herald and view safety scores on HospitalSafetyScore.org.