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Online tools for comparing hospitals

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has added new quality measures and updated patient care experience information on the federal government's Hospital Compare Web site.

Consumers can now compare 30-day pneumonia mortality rates for hospitals. Users can search for local hospitals, then compare them three at a time to see how they compare to the national rate.

Consumers can also analyze how hospitals care for children with asthma. That measure appplies to children's hospitals and pediatric units in general acute-care hospitals.

The new tools, made available to the public at the Hospital Compare Web site on Wednesday, are benchmarks consumers can use to examine hospital quality of care and value. Hospital Compare was created in 2005 to help people make informed healthcare decisions.

To sample some of the updated tools check out these links: