The newspaper analyzed data from Medicare on more than 4,600 U.S. hospitals and found that 323 -- one of every 14 -- had above-average death rates for heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia.
Two hospitals that did well on patient surveys had high death rates for those three afflictions, the analysis found.
"This is a very important finding," Donald Berwick, director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, told USA Today.
Even though patient-survey data offer critical insights into how it feels to be a patient at given hospitals -- as well as important hygiene information that can affect the risk of getting a hospital-acquired infection while in the hospital -- patients' perceptions don't tell the whole story, Berwick says.
All hospitals of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs were rated as good as or better than the national rate for heart attack and heart failure, the analysis found.
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