CMS To Post Critical Access Hospital Data on Hospital Compare

June 29, 2015 in News

CMS says that it plans to release more critical access hospital data on its Hospital Compare website next month, AHA News reports (AHA News, 6/26).

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 April, CMS released its first-ever five-star quality ratings system on Hospital Compare. The rating system offers a one- to five-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, 4/16).

Details of CMS Comments on CAH Data

CMS’ comments came in response to a letter from the American Hospital Association that expressed “deep disappointment” that the agency did not include performance data critical access hospitals voluntarily report to the government in its April update (AHA News, 6/26).

In the letter, AHA Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety Nancy Foster urged CMS to release the data, noting that 94% of the 1,330 critical access hospitals in the U.S. are registered to submit data about their quality to CMS.

According to the AHA, hospital data reported by critical access hospitals can be used by:

  • Payers, such as some Medicaid programs and private insurers, for pay-for-performance programs;
  • Patients to understand their local hospitals’ quality and performance; and
  • Hospitals to identify opportunities for improvement (AHA letter, 6/24).

According to AHA News, CMS said it regrets that the critical access hospital data were not included in the April update. CMS also said it is taking steps to ensure future updates of voluntarily reported data will be timely (AHA News, 6/26).

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