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Health Insurance In California Offers Access To One Of The Best Hospitals In The Nation

Health Insurance In California Offers Access To One Of The Best Hospitals In The Nation

In California, health insurance offers access to the third highest ranking hospital in the nation

, according to America's Best Hospitals' annual ranking of elite medical centers. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles was only out performed by Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland (1st) and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota (2nd).

As a teaching hospital, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center was ranked in 15 adult and nine pediatric specialties. These adult specialties included cancer; diabetes and endocrinology; ear, nose and throat; gastroenterology; geriatrics; gynecology; heart and heart surgery; kidney; neurology and neurosurgery; ophthalmology; orthopedics; psychiatry; pulmonology; rheumatology and urology.

Among its pediatric specialties, the facility was ranked in cancer; diabetes and endocrinology; gastroenterology; heart and heart surgery; kidney; neonatology; neurology and neurosurgery; orthopedics and urology.

This generous breadth of specialties alone makes the facility one of the top hospitals in the nation.Health Insurance In California Offers Access To One Of The Best Hospitals In The Nation

What the Ranking Really Means

America's Best Hospitals analyzes how hospitals deal with complicated and demanding situations in what's been called "high-stakes" medicine. This is the 20th year for America's Best Hospitals, which ranks institutions in 16 specialties.

In a dozen of these specialties, the quality of treatment can mean the difference between living and dying. The highest scoring 50 facilities were ranked on a combination of their reputation, death rates, patient safety and nursing and patient services.

In the four remaining specialties (ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation and rheumatology), facilities were scored solely on reputation because very few cases actually involve mortality issues.

Hospital reputation accounted for 32.5 percent of the total score, and involved three years worth of specialist surveys. In these surveys, almost 10,000 doctors named the top five hospitals they believed to be the best in their specialty with respect to difficult cases.

Next, the mortality index also accounted for an equal 32.5 percent of the overall score. This may be of higher importance to most of us because rate of death is, after all, the ultimate indicator of success in patient treatment.

This year a new category of patient safety was added as five percent of the overall score. Specially, this analyzes steps to minimize harm done to patients. The remaining 30 percent of the scoring was devoted to nurse staffing and technology availability.

Out of 174 facilities that were ranked by specialties, just 21 ultimately earned high rankings in a minimum of half a dozen specialties.

What the Patients Themselves Had to Say

A year's worth of survey samples from recently discharged patients may be even more revealing. Seventy-five percent of those said they would recommend Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center to family and friends.

Patients were specifically asked whether doctors and nurses were courteous and attentive as well as how clearly they explained things to patients. Another question touched on how quickly patients were helped by staff. Most importantly, patients were asked how well the staff managed to control problems with pain.Health Insurance In California Offers Access To One Of The Best Hospitals In The Nation

Surveys also noted whether the staff had explained the need for medications and potential side effects as well as whether the staff talked to patients being discharged regarding any help they might need. Other questions dealt with whether patients received written information about recovery, whether patients' rooms and bathrooms were clean and if the nights were quiet. In 2007, this hospital supported 39,422 emergency visits and 25,834 hospital admissions. In addition, its staff performed 11,344 inpatient surgeries and 15,422 outpatient surgeries.

California Health Insurance and Provider Networks

California residents may consider themselves fortunate to be living within proximity to such a high-ranking facility. That just points out the importance of always checking provider networks when shopping for California health insurance plans. Insurers work with different doctors and hospitals, and to get the best quality in health care, it pays to know the reputations of the facilities in your provider network.

by: Wiley Long
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