50 Secrets Hospitals Don’t Want to Tell You

No one looks forward to a health crisis, but our insights and tips will help you get better medical care, cut hospital bill costs, and get out of the hospital alive.

Pick a teaching hospital

Paper Artwork by Kyle Bean, Photograph by Mitch Payne for Reader’s Digest

“For complex surgical procedures, you’re generally better off at teaching hospitals, which usually stay at the forefront of health research. Medical students and residents ask questions, providing more eyes and ears to pay attention and prevent errors. Teaching hospitals have lower complication rates and better outcomes.” —Evan Levine, MD, a cardiologist and the author of What Your Doctor Can’t (or Won’t) Tell YouDon’t miss these other 50 things your surgeon won’t tell you.

Beware freestanding ERs


“Those freestanding ERs popping up all over? They typically don’t have anywhere near the resources of hospital ERs, yet they cost just as much. Go there for small bumps and bruises. For something serious (chest pain, a badly broken bone), get to a trauma center where specialists and surgeons work.” —James Pinckney, MD, an ER doctor, founder of Diamond Physicians in Dallas, Texas. Check out these other 50 secrets an ER staff won’t tell you.

Shop around for rehab


“If you’re being released for rehab, shop around for a place that has experience with your condition. We found that rehab facilities that handle more than two dozen hip fractures a year were more than twice as likely to successfully discharge seniors within a month as less experienced facilities were.” —Pedro Gozalo, a public health researcher at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Here are 14 more secrets physical therapists aren’t telling you.

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