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  ABOUT

Patients need and deserve meaningful information about the price of their hospital care. Arkansas hospitals are committed to sharing information that will help individuals and their families make important decisions about their health care. This site was created to provide basic demographic, quality and pricing information on Arkansas hospitals, to help consumers understand more about hospital prices and to promote consumer/hospital interaction.

  Hospital Consumer Assist is sponsored by the Arkansas Hospital Association (AHA). Recognizing the growing consumer need for quality and pricing information, this project was unanimously commissioned by the AHA Board of Directors. The Board also felt that it was necessary to have a third party be responsible for the pricing and quality data collection and reporting. Hospital Consumer Assist is a work-in-progress and will evolve over time to better meet the needs of Arkansas' citizens. As a result, the AHA contracted with ahd.com to oversee this task.

Sharing price information is challenging because hospital care is unique. Hospital prices can vary based on patient needs and the services they use; prices reflect the added costs of hospitals' public service role – like fire houses and police stations – serving the essential health care needs of a community 24 hours a day, seven days a week; and a hospitals' prices can't yet reflect important information from other key players like the price of physician care while in the hospital or how much of the bill a patient's insurance company may cover.

Seek Information From Other Sources
While this Web site provides useful information, it should not be the sole source of information about hospital choice. It is only one tool that can be used as a guide for helping consumers become more active participants in the health care system. In addition, all consumers of health care services are strongly encouraged to seek other information from their physician. Ask questions such as:

  • Why is the hospitalization being recommended?   Make sure you understand what operation, treatments, tests are needed and why.
     
  • If a surgical procedure is involved, why is it necessary? Reasons to have surgery may vary from relieving or preventing pain to diagnosing a problem to improving body function. Ask your physician to specifically explain why this procedure is being recommended.
     
  • What are the alternatives?  Are there other treatment options available based on your current medical condition?

    In some cases, medication or non-surgical treatments, such as lifestyle changes, may be as helpful in improving a condition as surgery. Your physician should clearly explain the benefits and risks of these options so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not surgery is necessary.
     
  • What are the benefits of the surgery and how long will they last?  Also, ask your physician about published information regarding the outcomes of the recommended procedure. This will allow you to make an informed decision and have realistic expectations about the surgery.
     
  • What are the risks and possible complications of having the operation?  Surgery always carries some risks, so it is important to weigh the benefits against the risks before surgery. Ask your physician to outline the possible complications, such as infection and bleeding, and possible side effects that could follow the procedure. You should also discuss pain and ways to manage any pain that may follow the procedure.
     
  • What happens if you do not have the operation?  Ask about the prognosis for your condition if other modes of treatment are used.
     
  • If you decide, after weighing the benefits and risks of the surgery, not to have the operation, what will happen?
    You need to know whether the condition will worsen or if there is a possibility that it may resolve itself.
     
  • Can the care be provided equally as well on an outpatient basis that does not involve an overnight hospital stay?  Is home health care an option?  The same health care services may be available in a setting other than an inpatient hospitalization.
     
  • What is the physician's experience in performing this procedure?  You can minimize the risks of surgery by choosing a physician who is thoroughly trained and experienced in performing the procedure. You may ask the physician about his/her experience with the procedure being performed, including the number of times he/she has performed it, and his/her record of successes, as well as complications.
     
  • What can I expect during recovery?  Ask your physician what to expect in the first few days following surgery, as well as in the weeks and months that follow. You need to know how long you will be hospitalized, what limitations will be placed on you, and if there are special supplies or equipment you will need upon discharge. Knowing ahead of time what to expect will help you to cope and recover more quickly following the surgery.

In addition, ask your insurance company what is covered under your health plan and what you will be expected to pay out-of-pocket for the recommended care. If you are concerned about your ability to pay, talk to a financial counselor at the hospital prior to admission, if possible.
 


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