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The Colorado-based, healthcare quality measurement firm, Healthgrades, has just published its latest ratings of hospitals across the country. The Healthgrades website has developed a user-friendly approach to allow people to view hospital rankings, which are categorized based on location and on various procedures performed.

The rankings are based on the number of complications and deaths following each type of procedure, with the information being compiled from tens of millions of Medicare claims spanning a three-year period.

Healthgrades provides rankings of one star, three stars, or five stars for each hospital for each category of procedures. Five-star ratings represent the best performers, while the one-star ratings represent the poorest performers in each category.

For example, in the Sacramento area, if you were to undergo a knee replacement surgery, it may be helpful to know that Healthgrades gave five stars each to Sutter General, Sutter Davis, and Methodist hospitals. Or if you were having a spinal fusion surgery, you may want to know that Healthgrades gave five stars to both Sutter Davis and Sutter Roseville hospitals.

With this type of information easily accessible to the public, patients can now make more informed decisions regarding where to obtain their health care. In addition, hospitals with lower rankings have an incentive to improve performance in their weaker areas.

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