A new study from Health Grades, Inc., finds that Medicare patients at top-performing hospitals are 43 percent less likely to suffer a patient safety event than those at the poorest-performing hospitals. The sixth annual “Health Grades Patient Safety in American Hospitals Study” relied on Medicare inpatient data. Researchers identified more than 913,000 patient safety events during the three-year period covered by the data (2005 to 2007), affecting 864,000 patients. That represented 2.3 percent of Medicare hospitalizations, and generated $6.9 billion in excess costs, according to the study. Medicare patients who experienced one or more of the patient safety events included in the study had about a one-in-10 chance of dying as a result.