STARS AND STRIPES --- The Department of Veterans Affairs released the newest performance ratings Wednesday for each of its 146 hospitals, citing improvements in the past year at some of its lowest-performing facilities. The fiscal 2018 ratings include nine one-star hospitals, the lowest possible, down from 14 hospitals that received one-star ratings in 2017. The ratings indicate each hospital's quality of care and are based on data such as death rates, patient satisfaction and efficiency. In years past, the VA had withheld the data from the public. In 2016, the performance ratings were released under pressure that followed a USA Today investigation.
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