Hospital ratings have been issued before by the government’s Department of Health and Human Services.  However, these having been based on objective factors such as mortality rates.  This is the first time patients were asked for their opinions.  

In today’s NY Times:

Study Finds Many Patients Dissatisfied With Hospitals

By ROBERT PEAR, Published: March 29, 2008

WASHINGTON — Many hospital patients are dissatisfied with some aspects of their care and might not recommend their hospitals to friends and relatives, the federal government said Friday as it issued ratings for most of the nation’s hospitals, based on the first uniform national survey of patients.

The survey was meant to provide a constructive way for patients to complain about arrogant doctors, crabby nurses and dirty or noisy hospital rooms. Medical experts said that some of the complaints bore directly on the quality of care.

Many patients reported that they had not been treated with courtesy and respect by doctors and nurses; that they had not received adequate pain medication after surgery; and that they did not understand the instructions they received when discharged from the hospital.

Nationwide, in the average hospital, 67 percent of patients said they would definitely recommend the institution where they had been treated to friends and relatives. Sixty-three percent gave their hospitals a score of 9 or 10 on a scale of 0 to 10.

At the average hospital, more than 25 percent of patients said nurses had not always communicated well with them.

The new data, part of a survey of patient experiences and perceptions of hospital care, is posted at a government Web site,

<snip> Many large teaching hospitals scored below the national average on questions about the cleanliness and quietness of the hospital environment. Patients were asked: “How often were your room and bathroom kept clean? How often was the area around your room quiet at night?”

Consumer groups, employers and labor unions hailed release of the data, saying it would make hospitals more accountable.

Dr. Doug Salvador, the patient safety officer at Maine Medical Center in Portland, said: “Forty years ago, hospitals were looked at as trusted friends. But there has been a relative decline in positive feeling about hospitals, because of all the attention to medical errors, the fear of hospital-acquired infections and the commercialization of medicine.”

For the rest of the story: