Description of Services
A hospital is a facility that provides medical diagnostic and treatment services. There are different types of hospitals, based on the care provided.
A general (or acute care) hospital provides general medical and surgical care to patients. This is typically called a community hospital.
A specialty hospital is a facility that specializes in treatment of a specific medical problem or a related group of problems, such as psychiatric problems, substance abuse issues, specific chronic diseases or cancer. A specialty hospital admits only individuals with a medical or surgical need that is within its specialty. A specialty hospital may be located within a general hospital setting, but have a separate admission area and staff, or it may be in a separate building.
A rehabilitation hospital provides comprehensive physical, occupational and speech rehabilitation services. The rehabilitation hospital may be located within a general hospital or be in a separate location. An individual must meet specific criteria to be eligible for admission. Certain rehabilitation services may also be provided in a general hospital or in a skilled nursing facility.
Department of Veterans Affairs Hospitals
A Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital provides medical and surgical care to veterans. The VA provides comprehensive care, including in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation and extended care at its hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. The Veterans Administration web site provides information about eligibility.
Hospitals as Trauma Centers
The Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) designates some Maryland hospitals as trauma centers. When an individual calls 911, and the paramedics assess that the situation is an acute trauma, the patient is transported to the most appropriate trauma center. This may or may not be the closest hospital.
Regardless of the type of hospital one may use, it is important to understand the following aspects of hospital care: