Consumers Union plans to rate hospitals

The venerable organization behind the popular Consumer Reports magazine has announced that it's getting into the hospital ratings act. The publisher, Consumers Union, already offers assessments of health-insurance plans, drugs and even some medical treatments, and is considering ratings of physician and elder groups. Its planned hospital ratings are the first step in a program to expand its healthcare ratings services.

Consumer Reports will rate about 3,000 facilities, and will include graphs showing ratings of care intensity and quality of care for nine serious conditions such as cancer and heart failure during the last two years of life. It also will include features reflecting average out-of-pocket costs for physician visits during the last two years of life for the nine conditions. The data will be drawn from the Dartmouth Atlas Project.

To learn more about the planned ratings:
- read this Wall Street Journal article (sub. req.)

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