Hospitals employ and deal with humans. Humans make errors. Therefore, the quality of care that you receive at one hospital may be significantly different than the care you receive at a neighboring one. With really bad hospitals the word tends to get out into the local community by word of mouth and via local newspaper, radio and television reporting. The Joint Commission operates voluntary accreditation programs for hospitals and other health care organizations. It accredits nearly 16,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Unannounced surveys typically follow a three year cycle. Results are available online. Hospitals are complex, busy and sometimes scary places. Horror stories abound, but they’re the exception, and the Joint Commission surveys prove that they’re not the rule.