Sunday, April 5, 2009

Getting Top-Notch Medical Care: Travel Or Not

Want the quickie version of AARP's top-rated hospitals across America?  Look no further than The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide.   Other than for eye ailments, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, earned highest marks in all major areas, heart, cancer, neurosurgery and diagnosis.  

According to Consumers' Checkbook, a nonprofit private organization, doctors from across the United States were surveyed and the results tabulated.  CC warns us, however,  that just because a particular hospital ranks high doesn't necessarily mean that you should pack your bags.  The advantages of being in familiar surroundings, for instance, can't be measured in dollars and cents. Nor can the immediacy of the situation such as for strokes and heart attacks which require urgent attention.  

Rare, hard-to-treat illnesses or unsatisfactory care for on-going problems make traveling a wise option.   Do your homework.  Get your facts.  Ask your doctors for hard numbers on success and complications.  And don't (I repeat, don't) be reluctant to offend your attending physician if you decide to seek treatment elsewhere.  "Your doctor's ego will recover, while you may not."  

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