How Much Does an ER Visit Cost?

How much does an ER Visit cost? The short answer is a lot. A single ER visit cost $1,150 on average in 2020. Emergency Room visits by those who were uninsured cost almost $1,500 on average. Visits by people under 65 who had private commercial insurance had an average cost of $1,682. The picture might […]

Consumer Health Ratings to Close After 16 Years

After 16 years in operation, Consumer Health Ratings will be closing its website. The founder, Gretchen Dahlen, has retired.“We are grateful for the opportunity to help guide millions of consumers to reliable reports of healthcare quality and cost for more than a decade and a half,” Ms. Dahlen said. Consumer Health Ratings was founded in 2006 by The Dahlen Company, LLC, a management consulting firm.

Who is Most At Risk for a Bad Case of Coronavirus?

Most people know by now that the risk of severe illness from the coronavirus rises with age. But is it only the elderly who are most at risk for a bad case of coronavirus?  No, it’s not. Those with underlying conditions are at serious risk, regardless of age. By serious risk, I mean hospitalized. Not […]

Five Concepts to Fight Coronavirus

It’s hard to believe that less than six weeks have passed since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus pandemic. We have survived the shock of hospitals as war zones, a tent hospital suddenly erected in New York’s Central Park, and thousands of deaths. Many states are winding down from peak hospitalizations. We are readying […]

Consumer Health Ratings President and CEO Appointed to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) National Advisory Council

Gretchen M. Dahlen, president and chief executive officer of Consumer Health Ratings, has been named to the National Advisory Council for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). New member appointments were made by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and announced during a virtual meeting of the Council held March 26, 2020. AHRQ […]

2020 Health Insurance Cost and Quality Ratings

Last year, health insurance for a single person in the US private sector cost $6,715 on average. Annual open enrollment is nearly here for 2020. Now is a good time to gather your research on both cost and quality of your health plan.
Who doesn’t think “cost” when hearing “health insurance”? And yet, the first thing to check is …

The $2 Million Drug: Rare Disease Drug Prices

The $2 million wonder drug is called Zolgensma. It’s made for infants and kids up to age 2 who have spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).  The rare disease is inherited. The new gene therapy drug can potentially correct it. Gene therapy is at the front of technology innovation. The technology fuels new specialty drugs that come […]

Mourning Neil Armstrong: Healthcare’s Test Pilot

We had just finished celebrating the 50-year anniversary of man’s landing on the moon.  When abruptly, troubling news appeared that famed astronaut Neil Armstrong may have died from hospital errors associated with his cardiac care in 2012. It was a punch to the gut. Like many Americans, I had been reliving the fulfilled dream of […]

How Fast Is the Hospital ER Near Me?

Speed is probably the first thing you think of, if you need an Emergency Room. Should consumers be concerned about ER waiting time at their nearby hospital’s Emergency Department?  Check the ratings.  After you arrive, 22 minutes[1] is how long patients wait, on average, to see a provider.  That’s according to the latest report from […]

Hacienda Board of Directors: Time to Leave?

Based on DNA evidence, a male LPN was arrested Jan. 23 and charged with sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult who resided at Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix. He allegedly raped and impregnated a 29-year old nonresponsive quadriplegic, who gave birth December 29, 2018, much to the surprise of staff. Frantic employees worried about […]

Time to Improve Mental Health Care

The case of 17-year old Jordan “Jordie” Binion highlighted once again the heartbreak of mental health care in the US. This week, NBC News’ Cynthia McFadden interviewed the young man’s parents, following their son’s death by suicide in 2010. The parents, Will and Deb, worked to improve mental health in the state of Washington. The […]

Better, Safer Healthcare: Take the Pledge

This week is Patient Safety Awareness Week. Part of me delights in the idea of championing better, safer healthcare. It’s a time to celebrate the improvements made over the past ten to fifteen years. The national Patient Safety Chartbook describes recent trends. In five years since 2010, rates of “hospital-acquired conditions” were reduced by 21%. […]

Going Home at Last: Hospital Instructions

“You’re going home today” may be the sweetest words when you’re in the hospital. Whether you are taking a new baby home with you, or going home with a walker at the age of 85, getting out of the hospital represents a milestone in your life. How reliably do hospitals give instructions to patients about […]

Part 4-Hollywood Hills Nursing Home: Ticket #4301 | Part IV – Nursing Home Ratings – Can Consumers Trust Them?

The final part of the Hollywood Hills-Hurricane Irma disaster analysis is the idea of selecting Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in the first place.  Much has been written about how to choose a nursing home.  Consumers are advised to read the ratings and visit the home ahead of time.  Talk to staff, families and residents.  […]

Part 3-Hollywood Hills Nursing Home: Ticket #4301 | Part III – The State, the County and the Power Company

(Background) On Sunday, September 10, 2017, Hurricane Irma hit Florida. Among the places affected, was a privately-owned nursing home, 10 miles south of Fort Lauderdale, called The Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills.  The nursing home lost power briefly in the storm.  While the electricity for the general nursing home systems kept working, separate electrical service […]

Ambulatory Surgery: Choosing a Facility

If you need surgery in 2018, chances are increasing, that it will be done as an outpatient.  The latest report from the federal government estimated nearly 29 million visits were made for ambulatory surgery in 2010 (National Health Statistics Report #102, 2017).  This compares to just over 7 million visits for hospital inpatient surgery (2014 […]

Part 2-Hollywood Hills Nursing Home: Ticket #4301 | Part II – The Nursing Home and its Emergency Plan

In the early days after September 13, the Hollywood Hills nursing home, through its corporate parent provided a timeline of their actions related to Hurricane Irma.  (The timeline was updated in mid-November).  From 3pm Sunday when the power to the air conditioning chiller went out, through Tuesday, the nursing home was in regular contact with […]

Hollywood Hills Nursing Home: Ticket #4301 | Part I – The Tragedy at Hollywood Hills

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. No relief from the risin’ tide. Somethin’ in the way of the world has changed, broken apart and rearranged. (From the song River’s Rising by Drew Emmitt)

Outpatient Imaging: What Does It Cost?

About one in every 5 visits to the doctor’s office, results in an imaging test.  X-rays are still the most popular.  Other common imaging tests are ultrasound, CT (computed tomography) scans, mammograms, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), echocardiograms and bone mineral density tests. Consumers are often concerned about the costs of these tests, especially considering their […]

Five Steps to Check Your Doctor’s Credentials

I wish I could tell you that finding the perfect doctor online is easy.  It isn’t.  Reviews at social networking sites have become popular, although small numbers of random reviews are not necessarily fair nor representative of a physician’s full panel of patients.  Fortunately, there are a few simple and objective things consumers can do […]

How Good Is My Hospital ER?

When consumers think of going to the Emergency Room at a nearby hospital, one of the biggest concerns is waiting time.  Information published by the federal government yesterday at Hospital Compare reports the average (median) time that patients waited before they saw a provider was 23 minutes[1] from the time they arrived at the hospital. […]

Is the Cost of Healthcare Still a Problem in the US?

The short answer is yes.  According to the latest 2017 Gallup Poll, 78% of Americans are dissatisfied with the total cost of healthcare.  And yet, surprisingly, it was Access to healthcare/health insurance that topped the Nov. 2017 list of most urgent health problems facing this country, named by 24% of those surveyed. The concern with […]

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Consumer Health Ratings