CMS Launches Five-Star Ratings on Hospital Compare Website

April 16, 2015 in News

On Thursday, CMS released its first-ever five-star quality ratings system on the Hospital Compare website, Modern Healthcare reports (Rice, Modern Healthcare, 4/16).

Background on Hospital Compare

In 2005, CMS began posting quality ratings for more than 3,000 U.S. hospitals on its Hospital Compare website.

The site first included data on adherence to basic clinical care guidelines and later expanded to include additional information, such as patient experience scores, readmission rates, mortality rates and complication rates.

In 2008, CMS began using star ratings for nursing homes. In the past year, it has implemented similar programs for home health providers, dialysis facilities and large group practices. However, the rollouts were met with controversy over the methodology and debate over whether the ratings added or eliminated confusion for patients.

New Quality Rating Details

The new hospital rating system offers a star rating based on the 11 publicly reported measures in the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey, which assesses patient experiences (iHealthBeat, 4/6). This year’s ratings evaluated patient experiences from July 2013 to June 2014.

In total, Medicare awarded five-star ratings to 251 of the 3,553 eligible hospitals — or about 7% of the nation’s hospitals. In addition:

  • 1,205 hospitals, about 34%, received four stars;
  • 1,414 hospitals, about 40 %, received three stars;
  • 582 hospitals, about 16% received two stars; and
  • 101 hospitals, about 3%, received one star.

Medicare did not rate 1,102 hospitals because it lacked adequate patient experience data during the survey period (Rau, Kaiser Health News, 4/16).

Patrick Conway, acting principal deputy administrator for CMS, said the ratings “will make it easier for consumers to use the information on the Hospital Compare website and spotlight excellence in health care quality.” He added that they also “encourage hospitals and clinicians to strive to continuously improve the patient experience and quality of care delivered to all patients” (CMS release, 4/16).

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