Consumers Union is starting a new hospital rating service to offer an unbiased review. You may know them better as the folks behind Consumer Reports, the popular magazine with valuable information about cars, appliances and other consumer products. They were already offering reviews of health insurance plans, drugs and some medical treatments so this new service is just a new step down the path. They will report on about 3,000 facilities.
The index is based on the research of the Dartmouth Atlas Project which has shown that more intense (and expensive) medical care doesn't necessarily correlate with better results. (For more information please read Shannon Brownlee's book OVERTREATED.)
While consumers need to know more about the quality and cost of care the question is whether they will care.