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You Don’t Need Another Credit Card, You Need A Better One.
Avg. APR Last Week 6 Months
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Business 13.12% 13.11% 12.85%
Student 13.42% 13.42% 13.14%
Balance Transfer 14.35% 14.30% 14.12%
Airline 15.17% 15.16% 15.10%
Cash Back 15.26% 15.23% 15.27%
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Encore
A blog about living in and planning for retirement

Tool Lets Patients Give Hospitals a Checkup

iStockphoto

A new online tool from Medicare can help you evaluate some of the care that hospitals in your area provide to patients.

The service – called, appropriately enough, Hospital Compare – is part of a burgeoning effort within healthcare to give patients, families and medical providers access to more data about treatments and outcomes. At the same time, the information, ideally, encourages hospitals to improve the quality of care they offer.

In specific, the Hospital Compare website helps users see whether medical facilities are providing some of the care that is recommended for individuals receiving treatment in five categories: heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, asthma (children only), or patients having surgery.

According to Medicare, hospitals “voluntarily submit data from medical records about the treatments their patients receive for these conditions.” The statistics include patients with Medicare coverage, individuals who participate in Medicare health plans, and those who don’t have Medicare.

At the same time, the service, among other data, offers surveys of patients’ experiences at individual hospitals (example: “percentage of patients who said that their pain was ‘always’ well controlled”) – and information about “Hospital Outcome of Care Measures.” The latter are 30-day mortality and readmission rates for patients admitted to a hospital for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia. (Note: The one-month time frame, according to Medicare, is “when deaths are most likely to be related to the care patients received in the hospital.”)

In the case of Hospital Outcome of Care Measures, the data are based solely on patients in original Medicare – not Medicare Advantage plans or patients who don’t have Medicare.

The site is relatively simple to use. You type in your ZIP code (or current town or city of residence) and select the information (example: a surgical procedure) you wish to compare across hospitals. The service first displays hospitals within 25 miles of your location and then allows you to compare three hospitals at a time.

Of course, Hospital Compare has its limitations. Given that the information is based on hospitals’ own data (again, voluntarily supplied), the quality of that information is as good – or inadequate – as an individual facility’s reporting procedures. And information from Medicare alone shouldn’t be the basis for choosing a medical provider; such decisions, of course, also should involve discussions with physicians and family members.

That said, Hospital Compare is one of a growing number of tools that patients will have at their disposal in coming years to get a better picture of various medical treatments and outcomes.

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    • My advice for stenudts would be to track their expenses and make a budget. Nearly all my work study money during my freshman year paid for my phone bills. That’s a chunk of change wasted on a guy I broke up with before I started my sophomore year!Angie’s last blog post..

About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.

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Markets »

165.88MDow Volume:
Avg Vol: 129.39M
Unchanged
121
Decliners
4802
Advancers
1600
Price Chg %Chg 1 Day
Range: 1 Day
  • 1 Day
  • 5 Days
  • 1 Month
  • 3 Months
  • 6 Months
  • 1 Year
  • 2 Years
Dow
/quotes/zigman/627449/realtime 16,027 -178 1.10%
Nasdaq
/quotes/zigman/12633936/realtime 4,284 -79 1.82%
S&P 500
/quotes/zigman/3870025/realtime 1,853 -27 1.42%
GlobalDow
/quotes/zigman/629063/realtime 2,093 -11 0.50%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/33772884/delayed 1,194 -4 0.36%
Oil
/quotes/zigman/2260836/delayed 30.00 +0.31 1.04%
FTSE 100
/quotes/zigman/3173262/delayed 5,689 -159 2.71%
DAX
/quotes/zigman/2380246/delayed 8,979 -307 3.30%
CAC 40
/quotes/zigman/3173214/delayed 4,066 -134 3.20%
FTSE MIB
/quotes/zigman/1482176/delayed 16,441 -809 4.69%
IBEX 35
/quotes/zigman/2759620/delayed 8,122 -377 4.44%
Stoxx 600
/quotes/zigman/2380150/delayed 314 -12 3.54%
Asia Dow
/quotes/zigman/6959860/realtime 2,464 -51 2.03%
Nikkei 225
/quotes/zigman/5986735/delayed 16,090 -915 5.38%
Hang Seng
/quotes/zigman/2622475/delayed 19,288 +105 0.55%
Shanghai
/quotes/zigman/1859015/delayed 2,763 -18 0.63%
Sensex
/quotes/zigman/1652085/delayed 24,011 -277 1.14%
Singapore
/quotes/zigman/1709939/delayed 2,623 +65 2.53%
Euro
/quotes/zigman/16008136/realtime/sampled 1.12 +0.00 0.14%
Yen
/quotes/zigman/16008150/realtime/sampled 114.57 -1.28 1.10%
Pound
/quotes/zigman/16008140/realtime/sampled 1.44 0.00 0.14%
Australia$
/quotes/zigman/16008115/realtime/sampled 0.70 -0.01 0.79%
DXY Index
/quotes/zigman/1652083/delayed 96.51 -0.17 0.18%
WSJ $ Idx
/quotes/zigman/41508961/realtime 89.55 -0.08 0.09%
U.S. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866666/realtime 1.69 -0.06 3.26%
German 10y
/quotes/zigman/15866409/realtime 0.22 0.00 0.00%
Italy 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866497/realtime 1.70 0.00 0.00%
Spain 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866444/realtime 1.76 0.00 0.00%
U.K. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866328/realtime 1.42 0.00 0.00%
Japan 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866525/realtime -0.01 -0.05 137.23%
Crude Oil
/quotes/zigman/2260836/delayed 30 +0 1.04%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/33772884/delayed 1,194 -4 0.36%
Corn
/quotes/zigman/25518691/delayed 361 -1 0.28%
DJIA F
/quotes/zigman/48241424/delayed 15,846 -142 0.89%
S&P F
/quotes/zigman/43106711/delayed 1,834 -18 0.96%
Silver
/quotes/zigman/32655632/delayed 15 0 0.20%

Quotes

Symbol Price Change % Change
FB /quotes/zigman/9962609/composite 99.75 -4.32 -4.15%
AAPL /quotes/zigman/68270/composite 95.01 0.99 1.05%
GOOG /quotes/zigman/59527964/composite 682.74 -0.83 -0.12%
BAC /quotes/zigman/190927/composite 12.27 -0.68 -5.25%
C /quotes/zigman/5065548/composite 37.81 -2.05 -5.14%
F /quotes/zigman/264304/composite 11.59 0.14 1.22%
T /quotes/zigman/398198/composite 37.11 0.23 0.62%
BP /quotes/zigman/247026/composite 29.92 -0.54 -1.77%
GE /quotes/zigman/227468/composite 28.17 -0.37 -1.30%
Visit the quote page and your most recently viewed stocks will automatically be displayed here.
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MarketWatch Portfolio

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Rates »

5 yr CD
1.3%
2 yr CD
0.7%
1 yr CD
0.5%
MMA $10K+
0.2%
MMA $50K+
0.4%

National averages from Bankrate.com

You Don’t Need Another Credit Card, You Need A Better One.
Avg. APR Last Week 6 Months
Low Interest 11.96% 11.88% 11.62%
Business 13.12% 13.11% 12.85%
Student 13.42% 13.42% 13.14%
Balance Transfer 14.35% 14.30% 14.12%
Airline 15.17% 15.16% 15.10%
Cash Back 15.26% 15.23% 15.27%
Reward 15.28% 15.25% 15.14%
Instant Approval 18.21% 18.18% 18.00%
Bad Credit 22.88% 22.88% 22.73%
Source:CreditCards.com

SPONSORED SECTIONS

Trending Tickers
  • /quotes/zigman/41663/composite GLD+1.34%
  • /quotes/zigman/118681/composite TSLA-8.99%
  • /quotes/zigman/245568/composite DIS-1.90%
  • /quotes/zigman/420125/composite GDX+2.46%
  • /quotes/zigman/3059264/composite DUST-7.06%
X
Powered by StockTwits
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As of July 2, 2013, the SmartMoney content you loved now lives on MarketWatch.

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