Choosing the Right Hospital

When choosing a hospital, it is important to consider quality, convenience, range of services available, as well as the number, type and qualifications of the physicians on the medical staff. Research shows that some hospitals simply provide better, more comprehensive care than others.

Providence Medical Centers and Clinics represent among the best of Southern California: specialty trained physicians, advanced technology, state-of-the-art facilities and quality, compassionate care.

At Providence our approach to treatment is a fusion of art and science that fully encompasses the mind, body and spirit of each individual. For more information about the Providence Medical Centers or a referral to a specialist or primary care physician, search our Online Provider Directory or contact our Health Resource Center at 1-888-HEALING (1-888-432-5464).

Important Factors To Consider When Selecting A Hospital

Does your health plan cover care at the hospital?

If you decide to choose a health plan that does not cover care at the hospital of your choice, you can consider changing health plans, if another one is available to you, or you can contact your employer or insurance company to request that the hospital be included in the future.

Is your doctor permitted to admit patients at the hospital?

If your physician is not on staff at the hospital of your choice, another physician will provide your care if you are admitted. To find out if your physician is on staff at Providence, search our Online Provider Directory or contact our Health Resource Center at 1-888-HEALING (1-888-432-5464).

Does the hospital meet national quality standards?

Hospitals can choose to be surveyed by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) to make sure they meet certain quality standards. The standards address the quality of staff and equipment, and-most recently-the hospital's success in treating patients. If a hospital meets those standards, it becomes accredited (gets a "seal of approval"). Reviews are done at least every 3 years. Check the JCAHO's web site at for a hospital's performance report or for its accreditation status.

How does the hospital compare with others in my area?

One important way to learn about hospital quality is to look at hospital "report cards" developed by federal and state governments or consumer groups. These reports not only help consumers make informed choices, they also encourage hospitals to improve quality of care. One source of hospital quality reports is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ( However, keep in mind that information in hospital "report cards" is often based on data that is two or more years old. To receive up-to-date information about quality of care, you can ask the hospital's quality assurance department for statistics such as mortality ratios, nurse-to-patient ratios and 5 or 10 year survival rates for certain conditions.

How well does the hospital check and improve on its own quality of care?

Good hospitals consistently try to improve the quality of their care. You can ask the hospital quality management (or assurance) department how it monitors and improves the hospital's quality of care. Also, ask for any patient satisfaction surveys the hospital has done. These will tell you how other patients have rated the quality of their care.

Has the hospital had success with your condition?

Research shows that hospitals with higher volumes of specific procedures tend to have better success with them. In other words, "practice makes perfect." In addition, hospitals with more experience in treating specific conditions, such as cardiovascular disease or cancer, tend to have more experience providing comprehensive diagnostic, educational and support services and coordinating care. 
(1) Adapted from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (

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