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Federal Web site will help Wisconsinites choose their hospital

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Wisconsinites are getting more help in deciding which hospital to choose.

The federal government wants folks to use a Web site called Hospital Compare.

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It's been around for a long time, grading hospitals in a bunch of technical ways.

But now it includes the results of patient surveys which ask things we can all relate to like whether doctors and nurses really listen to us.

Also, surgical patients are asked if they get antibiotics that reduce their risk of infections while under the knife.

The Web site has posted these results for a few weeks, but only one-in-five people knew the site even existed.

So now the Department of Health and Human Services is starting a massive ad campaign to promote it.

Hospitals didn't have to participate this year, but most in metro Milwaukee did.

In the future, those which don't post their patient surveys will get smaller reimbursements for Medicare patients.

The goals of the Web site are to encourage folks to use top-performing hospitals and to improve those that don't match up.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee nursing professor Norma Lang says the data offers a new perspective but it shouldn't be the only thing folks consider in choosing a hospital.

You can find the site at HospitalCompare.HHS.gov.

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