How will I know if I need one of these hospitals?
Such a moment might involve a decision that affects your quality of life. About 70,000 diabetics a year, for example, have a foot or leg amputated because of impaired circulation, infection, or other causes. To put it another way, doctors tell nearly 200 diabetic patients on a typical day that amputation is necessary. But the best hospitals for diabetics are less likely to deliver that message. They are more experienced in restoring circulation or at finding other ways to preserve the limb. Top diabetes centers are also better than others at identifying and treating complications before drastic measures like amputation are necessary. Someone whose diabetes is unusually hard to control or whose heart, circulatory, or other diabetes-related complications are progressing might want a consult at a ranked facility within a reasonable distance from home. That shouldn't be overly difficult in most parts of the country. The 50 U.S. News-ranked diabetes hospitals are in 35 different cities across 29 states and the District of Columbia. Can I get into a ranked hospital?
Almost always. Patients can often do it themselves by calling a patient referral number or sending an E-mail; information on both will be on the hospital's website. You should first check to see if your health insurance carrier will cover the cost. If there is any doubt, your physician should make the referral. He can deal with push back from a health insurer better than you can—he's used to it.