QI just moved to a new area. How can I find out which hospitals are considered
the best in town?
AYou’re in luck. Patients’ outcomes from local hospitals are measured and recorded
at the government website Data.Medicare
.gov. From there, you can link to different sec-
tions that compare hospitals and tell you how
patients with certain conditions fared after
they received hospital care; whether they were
; Your AARP Ask the Experts
hospitalized again within 30 days (readmission
rates); and the death rates in certain cases. The
site also provides survey results from patients
about the quality of care they received during a
recent hospital stay.
The information on the site comes from
hospitals that have agreed to release the data
to the public. The site, which was created by the
Hospital Quality Alliance, is run by the Centers
for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
QI was married for 18 years, and then my husband and I were divorced. He has
remarried and I have not. I’ll be 58 this year.
He’s 67. Can I collect Social Security on his
AYou are eligible to collect a spousal benefit, as long as your ex-husband is collecting
Social Security, but not until you turn 62. At
that time, you would receive a reduced benefit
amount, since you’d be filing for early benefits.
If you wait until age 66 to file, you would get full
To learn more about age and benefit amounts,
go to Social Security online at www.ssa.gov/
QWhen someone dies, how does the Social Security Administration know?
A Social Security gets reports of a benefi- ciary’s death from family members, funeral
homes, institutions, and state and federal agen-
cies such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid
Services. Officials say it’s best that the Social Se-
curity Administration be notified within a month
of the death of a relative to avoid a problem with
checks being issued after the person has died.
Experts: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on hospitals; Social
Security Administration on spousal benefits and death records. Send your
questions to: Ask the Experts, AARP Bulletin, 601 E St. N. W., Washington,
DC 20049, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out bulletin.aarp.org
for previously asked questions and answers.