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Hospital comparisons soon to be a click away in Ohio

Columbus Dispatch, December 22, 2009

A Ohio state law passed nearly four years ago requires hospitals to provide extensive quality and pricing information to the Ohio Department of Health— and a consumer-friendly Web site with this information goes live Jan. 1. Hospitals already report some of this information, but it's difficult for consumers to compare hospitals. The new site is called Ohio Hospital Compare and will feature more than 100 quality measures, including mortality and infection rates and how often specific medical procedures are performed at a hospital. There is even information about whether a hospital has a hand-washing program for its health workers. On the main page, consumers will be able to pick hospitals to compare on quality measures. The Web site also will link to lists of hospital charges, but they won't be in an easy-to-use format until the end of 2010, said Sara Morman, an Ohio Health Department spokeswoman. At that time, consumers will be able to compare charges, such as for private and semiprivate rooms, the 30 most-common X-rays, and services in emergency, operating and delivery rooms.