Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has higher rates of readmissions for Medicare patients for some conditions. But its mortality rates for the same conditions is lower than at many hospitals. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center hide caption

itoggle caption Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Child life specialist Kelly Schraf helps to put at ease Yoselyn Gaitan, 8, who had surgery on her cleft palate, at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Jenny Gold for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jenny Gold for NPR

Shannon Orley, left, meets with her health coach, Kelly Heithold, right, at Providence Alaska Medical Center. Annie Feidt for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Annie Feidt for NPR

Deb Waldin testifies about her experience with a debt collector at a Minnesota hospital during a hearing led by Sen. Al Franken in St. Paul, Minn., in late May. Minnesota Public Radio/Jeffrey Thompson hide caption

itoggle caption Minnesota Public Radio/Jeffrey Thompson

HealthOne is a Colorado hospital chain that is opening a psychiatric ward to take pressure off its hospitals' emergency rooms, including the one on the billboard. Eric Whitney/CPR hide caption

itoggle caption Eric Whitney/CPR

Some fear that with rising medical costs and an aging population, the country's nursing staff will be stretched too thin. iStockphoto.com hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto.com

Patients continue to complain that physicians don't spend enough time examining and talking with them. iStockphoto.com hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto.com

Patient Bob Berquist with Gregory Wagner, a doctor in the emergency department. Berquist, who volunteers at Fauquier Hospital, was admitted for low blood sugar when another nurse noticed he seemed dizzy. John Rose/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption John Rose/NPR

Katie Beckett fits herself with a vibrating vest that helps clear mucous from her lungs. A nurse comes over to her apartment in Cedar Rapids to help her do this twice a day. On the wall to the right are pictures of Katie as a child with Ronald Reagan. This story starts twenty-nine years ago with an angry President Ronald Reagan. <> We just recently received word of a little girl who has spent most of her life in a hospital. <> The little girl in the hospital was three-year-old Katie Beckett. Because of a brain infection, she needed to be hooked to a ventilator at night to breathe. Her parents wanted her home. Her doctors said she'd be better off at home. And it'd be cheaper, too: Just one-sixth the cost. John Poole/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption John Poole/NPR

Douglas Harlow Brown, 80, of East Lansing, Mich., watches birds inside a medical rehab facility. Brittney Lohmiller for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Brittney Lohmiller for NPR