Parents, compare care on this site

Letters to the Editor
Published October 4, 2006

As we celebrate National Children's Health Month in October, I encourage all parents to log on to www.FloridaCompareCare.gov for a comprehensive guide to finding the best medical care for your child.

In 2005, the Agency for Health Care Administration launched Florida Compare Care to help individuals make educated decisions about where to seek treatment based on facility services and performance indicators. With more than 5-million hits since its creation, the Web site has fueled Florida's status as the national leader in health care transparency.

This July, Florida became the first state to publicly report pediatric care information. Parents now have fingertip access to average lengths of stay, infection and mortality rates, and hospital charges. This information is available by pediatric-specific conditions such as cancer, diabetes and pneumonia, and procedures like appendectomy and brain surgery. This easy-to-use online tool allows parents to compare services provided in each hospital in the state.

Within the coming weeks, the Agency for Health Care Administration will publish information on health plans. This addition creates a one-stop shop for Floridians to compare plan benefits, costs and member satisfaction. Information on physicians will be available next summer.

Parents, don't wait until your child is sick to find the best care. Knowing where to take your children or loved ones for help could save their lives. Visit Florida Compare Care online.

Christa Calamas, secretary, Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, Tallahassee


Biking to work has many benefits

I ride my bike to my job at Campbell Park Elementary School every day. I think it's about a 6-mile ride each way. The reasons I choose to bike instead of drive are simple. It's much cheaper, it's great exercise and it's pollution free.

I very much want more Floridians to join me in deciding to bike to work. Let's consider working closer to home so we can make this happen.

Marius Dicpetris, St. Petersburg