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HealthGrades, a leader in the measurement of health-care quality, just published new online rankings of hospitals around the nation. The company uses a rating system of one, three, or five stars based on how many patients develop complications or die after receiving treatment. One star is the lowest, representing poor performance, three stars represent performance that is expected, and five stars represent top performance. The rankings are based on information gathered from Medicare claims and are adjusted for how sick the patients are. Some opponents of this ranking argue the claims are inadequate in determining the quality of care, saying the ranking should be determined from medical records.

HealthGrades claims patients are seventy-percent less likely to die at five star hospitals compared to one star hospitals. This information shows consumers that there is a significant difference between hospitals in terms of how patients fare when they have pneumonia, a stroke, a heart attack, or heart failure. Consumers can look up the company’s rankings free on their website

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