Should your ability to get safe medical care depend on what hospital you choose? You may not even have a choice, depending on the circumstances. If you're brought to a hospital by ambulance in an emergency, it's unlikely that you have the luxury of stopping to ask the emergency medical technicians if they know the facility's safety ratings before they leave you there. Yet, your life may actually depend on that very information.
Hospitals in Massachusetts are required to disclose any "serious reportable events" to the Department of Public Health each year as part of an effort to maintain transparency and monitor the performance of each hospital within the state. A serious reportable event is any clear lapse or failure in health care that results in death or serious harm to a patient. That includes things like performing surgery on the wrong body part (or wrong patient), leaving a foreign object in a patient, giving a patient the wrong medication or wrong dosage of a medication, performing the wrong surgery entirely and giving a patient the wrong blood products.