Shop for a Hospital...Online - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/06/07

Shop for a Hospital...Online

Only three days old, Arden Yvonne Brown is already the apple of her parents' eye. After years of trying, Laurie and Mitch needed more specialized care to bring their first child into the world. They carefully considered exactly what kind of care and who would provide it.

"How I felt my daughter and my family would be treated, and where was I going to get the best care possible," explained new mom Laurie Brown.

Many of their questions could have been answered on the Georgia Hospital Association's new website, www.gahospitalpricecheck.com.

The site gives you a list of each hospital in your area, its procedures, and the prices. People know what types of services are offered at a local level compared to other "big" cities in the state.

"It's really an opportunity for us to say we're out there, we want to provide the kind of patient care that is expected, that is high quality, that is safe, and give us a chance to market our services," said Dr. Michael Goler, director of Ssystem performance improvement at St. Joseph's/Candler.

On the site, you will find pricing hospital information based on charges only. You'd still need to contact your insurance company to determine how much you'll be responsible for out of pocket.

It's something that would have made a big difference for the Browns. "As a first time mom, I didn't know what to expect," said Laurie. "It would be nice to see what procedures are available, and to compare."

Her husband, Mitch, agreed. "We found ourselves in the week prior, not sure what our expenses were going to be, what our insurance would cover, what may not be covered. So we kind of walked into this blind."

The Browns said they'll use this website for any future medical issues, especially since they live across the state line in Bluffton, South Carolina.

"It will give us a leg up on new procedures," said Mitch. "To be able to couple that with the new information, it will give us a lot stronger argument to make the drive here."

Health officials say the website is a good beginning, providing people with information and questions they should then talk over with their physician or trusted medical professional.

For more information you can log onto the web site at www.gahospitalpricecheck.com.

Reported by: Melanie A. Ruberti, mruberti@wtoc.com

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