CMS Releases Updates Star Ratings Reported on Hospital Compare

Added on Aug 23, 2016

CMS Releases Updates Star Ratings Reported on Hospital Compare
From Industry Edge August 2016

In late July, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released an updated hospital quality star ratings system to help patients and families easily compare facilities online, despite resistance from the American Hospital Association (AHA).

The updated overall star ratings system uses data from existing quality metrics publicly reported on the agency’s Hospital Compare website. The ratings measure routine care that the average patient would receive, as well as focuses on areas including hospital-acquired conditions.

The AHA and other advocacy groups indicated they felt the ratings were not ready for release, specifically because they do not reflect factors such as a patient’s socioeconomic status or patient complexity, nor do they recognize differences between small and large hospitals, teaching and nonteaching hospitals or hospitals in underprivileged vs. wealthier areas, Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the AHA, said in a statement.

Further, the results of an AHA-commissioned analysis released in early July suggest that the current star ratings methodology has some fundamental design flaws that introduce bias.

After an initial delay to allow more time for outreach to hospitals to understand and address concerns, CMS decided to move forward with the release.

“These easy-to-understand star ratings are available online and empower people to compare and choose across various types of facilities from nursing homes to home health agencies,” Katie Goodrich, director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality at CMS, wrote in a blog post, noting that the updated ratings will “help millions of patients and their families learn about the quality of hospitals, compare facilities in their area side-by-side, and ask important questions about care quality when visiting a hospital or other health care provider.”