Need expat info for USA?
US Hospitals and Emergency Care
Facts and Figures
There are more than 5,700 US hospitals throughout the country. The majority of them are Community Hospitals, meaning they are nonfederal, short-term general or special hospitals. They often also function as academic medical centers where nurses and doctors are trained.
More than 3,000 of these US hospitals are located in urban centers while only about 2,000 service rural areas. All in all, they offer over 800,000 staffed beds. Most US hospitals are rather big and privately owned. They offer a variety of medical services and treatments, and function as employers for many health specialists looking for work in the USA.
Hospital Care and Health Insurance
While healthcare plans have to cover hospital treatments according to the Affordable Care Act, they might not cover all types of treatments at all US hospitals. Even if your treatment is covered, you might be asked to pay a deductible. A deductible is a certain amount (usually between $100 and $5,000) which you have to cover yourself before your insurance kicks in.
In the past, US hospitals charged their patients for every single procedure. This meant that you had to pay for surgery and if there were complications as a result of said surgery, you were charged for that as well. It used to be quite common that patients were overcharged or asked to pay for treatments that they had never received. While this may change after the healthcare reform, you should still pay close attention to your hospital bill.
The Top 10 US Hospitals
When choosing a hospital, the most important thing is that it fits your needs. Depending on how severe your condition is, you might want to choose a medical facility which is close to your home, so that you will get help quickly. There are many US hospitals with an excellent reputation. However, some of them are particularly renowned as the cream of the crop. These include:
- Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore
- Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston
- Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota
- Cleveland Clinic in Ohio
- UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles
- Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago
- New York Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell, New York
- UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston
- UPMC University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania
Other hospitals which didn’t make the top 10 can still excel when it comes to special fields such as cancer treatment, neurosurgery, or orthopedics. Furthermore, some insurance companies do not include some of the US hospitals above in their coverage as they are very expensive. Speak to your insurance provider before you choose one of them for your treatment and find out if there is another medical facility which might offer the same service closer to you or at a more reasonable price.
If you have read this article closely, you will know that your family doctor is responsible for all basic care, while specialists and US hospitals take care of surgeries and special health problems. However, if you get sick outside of your doctor’s office hours or are in need of emergency care, you can call 911 for an ambulance or visit the emergency room. Depending on how severe your condition is you might have to wait a few hours before you get treated. Under the Affordable Care Act, you can visit any hospital’s emergency room without being charged extra by your health insurance company. Even if said hospital does not belong to your network, your health insurance is required to cover the costs of emergency care.
We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.