Kris B. Mamula Information about how well hospitals nationwide treat three common ailments is available on the Internet.This is a first step in the direction of allowing consumers to reach informed decisions about quality of care.The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has collected patient data from 4,200 hospitals about heart attack, congestive heart failure, and pneumonia. Hospitals will be rated on 17 measures for treatment of these illnesses, including whether heart attack patients receive aspirin when admitted, congestive heart patients get heart function tests, and people with pneumonia get timely antibiotics, said Peter Ashkenaz, CMS spokesman. Each of the treatments has been associated with speedier recovery, and the data is from the first two quarters of 2004. In addition, hospitals will be rated for patient satisfaction in about a year, said Mr. Ashkenaz.Click here for the hospital compare web address. CMS also operates a companion Web site, which contains information about nursing homes, including licensing history from facilities nationwide. Click here for Medicare web address. MR. MAMULA may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .