The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that the latest HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America study shows that Medicare patients in the "highest-ranked U.S.
hospitals are 71% less likely to die than those who receive care in the
lowest-ranked facilities."

According to the study, overall mortality rates at the hospitals
decreased by 11.8% from 2004 to 2006. Mortality rates at the
highest-ranked hospitals decreased by 12.8%, compared with an 11.4%
decline at the lowest-ranked hospitals. Had all hospitals performed at
same level as the highest-ranked facilities, possibly 266,604 fewer
Medicare beneficiaries would have died during the study period, the
authors said.

The study is available on the HealthGrades home page under "research" - download your copy now.