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Q&A: Finding area's best hospitals

Finding area's best hospitals

My husband and I live in Pinellas Park. What are the top rated hospitals in the Pinellas Park, Largo, Clearwater and St. Petersburg area? Thank you.

There are several places to find information.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration maintains a database of information about all sorts of health care facilities. Go to www.floridahealthfinder.gov/FacilityLocator/facloc.aspx.

Then search by facility type or location. Type in the city and search. That gives you a list of the health care facilities in that area.

Click on the facility, and then the inspection reports link. You can also compare pricing from this page and get other information about the facility.

A federal resource is www.medicare.gov. On the home page is a button labeled "Facilities and Doctors." Click on that, and then "Compare Hospitals," out in a ZIP code or city and you get a list of hospitals. You can then select ones you wish to compare.

Another useful website is www.healthgrades.com, an independent site that rates hospitals, doctors and more.

Publishers Clearing House

I see those commercials for Publishers Clearing House where people supposedly win $5,000 a week for life. This sounds way too good to be true. Who actually wins this? Any names of people who have won this and other PCH prizes available? And, if you don't subscribe to all the magazines they want you to, do you have a chance to win or does your entry automatically go to into the garbage?

Publishers Clearing House is a direct marketing company that sells discounted magazine subscriptions and goods. Its enticement is the chance to win one of its many sweepstakes. And it's a big business, with an estimated revenue of more than $500 million in 2006.

The company has had its controversial moments. It has been fined for using deceptive advertising, mostly for not making it clear that no purchases were necessary to win, and that making a purchase will not improve your chances of winning.

That said, it's not a scam. The odds are terrible — for example, 1 in 1.75 billion to win a contest in 2009 (Giveaway #1400) — but real people do win lots of money. For a list of million-dollar winners, go to www.pch.com/winnerscircle/winnercircle.shtml. For more recent winners, see www.pch.com/assets/WINNER_LIST.pdf. For more about the company, go to www.pch.com.

Finally, here are some tips from about.com about spotting sweepstakes scams: contests.about.com/od/conttestscams/tp/sweepstakefraud.htm.

Q&A: Finding area's best hospitals 07/29/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 3:24pm]
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