Consumers Union now rates hospitals.
Consumers Union, best known for its independent analysis of everyday products like digital cameras and lawnmowers, is now in the business of rating hospitals. The publisher of Consumer Reports magazine already offers ratings and information about prescription and OTC drugs, natural remedies, and some medical procedures. The new service, at http://www.consumerreports.org/health, uses information from the 2008 Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care to rank nearly 3,000 US hospitals on measures of conservative or aggressive treatment of nine common chronic illnesses, including cancer, congestive heart failure, and dementia. Specifically, the Dart-mouth researchers examined data from 4.7 million traditional Medicare patients during the last two years of their lives. VA hospitals, very small hospitals, and those that treat only Medicare HMO patients weren't studied.