I read with great interest the story on Checkbook's hospital rating analysis {Metro, Oct. 6}. For once the average guy is getting information previously privileged only to hospital workers.

It is interesting that the hospital that has the highest percentage of beds used in Maryland also has the poorest rating across the board. This has obviously made enormously high profits for the owner -- profits that have gone into building town houses, office buildings and a luxury hotel.

Nurses at this hospital over the years have been the lowest paid in the area. The pay for the ancillary services has been out of touch with the mainstream. Nursing support personnel have been given rare increases. This has not resulted in the kind of climate to encourage good people to stay there. The turnover rate is high. And because of staffing problems, the hospital can't be choosy with the physicians on staff.

Whether Southern Maryland Hospital (if you guessed the name of the hospital, you win a free trip to Clinton) can eventually move into the top 10 hospitals in the area remains to be seen. But a more informed consumer can demand a lot better. These ratings should be conducted yearly. J. T. RIORDON Hillcrest