The Baltimore Sun Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
May 17--State officials unveiled their first attempt to grade and assess the quality of care offered by Maryland's hospitals yesterday, hailing it as a powerful new tool that will help consumers decide where to seek health care and encourage under-performing hospitals to improve.
So far, the new Maryland Hospital Performance Evaluation Guide, an Internet-based resource that was activated yesterday afternoon, rates the state's 46 hospitals based on their performance in treating only two conditions -- congestive heart failure and community-acquired pneumonia.
But state officials plan to add an evaluation of obstetrics care by the end of the year, then heart attack treatment, and ultimately to expand the guide into a comprehensive report card that assesses treatment of numerous specific illnesses, as well as patient satisfaction and safety.
While noting the new guide's limitations, consumer advocates said …