A nationwide telephone survey of 6,455 adult medical and surgical patients discharged from 62 general hospitals focused on aspects of hospitalization that affected patients' overall evaluation of their care. Eighty percent reported the care they received was excellent or very good. The strongest predictors of patients' evaluations were reported health status and the number of problems reported. Most of the associations between patient characteristics and summary evaluations were explained by differences in the number of problems reported. However, controlling for number of reported problems, the associations between evaluations and age, health status, and preferences were still statistically significant.