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By Jill Drachenberg, Managing Editor, AHC Media
CMS has launched its new overall quality star ratings for Medicare hospitals, which is raising the ire of hospitals and medical associations that have pushed the agency to block, or at least revise, the rating system.
The star ratings use data from 64 quality measures reported to Hospital Compare, including:
Hospital officials have resisted the release of the ratings, and they have argued that treating high numbers of complicated cases, and CMS’ possible use of outdated statistics, could make some high-quality and prestigious medical centers look bad. “We are … disappointed that CMS moved forward with release of its star ratings, which clearly are not ready for prime time,” said American Hospital Association (AHA) President Rick Pollack in a statement. “As written, they fall short of meeting principles that the AHA has embraced for quality report cards and rating systems.”
A total of 129 hospitals scored only one star. (The full list of hospitals and their star ratings can be found at http://bit.ly/1OTT6ZB.)
The AHA and other industry organizations opposed the overall star ratings and expressed concerns that the information would not accurately represent hospitals in a meaningful way. Hospitals with high numbers of patients with complicated conditions, low income, or low health literacy may have higher rates of readmissions or adverse events that do not reflect on the hospital’s overall quality of care. Members of Congress also urged CMS to postpone the star ratings and reconsider how the ratings are determined.
“[W]e are especially troubled that the current ratings scheme unfairly penalizes teaching hospitals and those serving higher numbers of the poor,” Pollack said. Medicare ratings do not adjust for socioeconomic conditions.
The current ranking breaks down as follows:
The remaining 937 healthcare facilities (20.4%) were not rated because they didn’t report enough data.
Executive Editor Joy Dickinson, Nurse Planner Kay Ball, Physician Reviewer Steven A. Gunderson, DO, and Consulting Editor Mark Mayo report no consultant, stockholder, speaker’s bureau, research, or other financial relationships with companies having ties to this field of study. Stephen W. Earnhart discloses that he is a stockholder and on the board for One Medical Passport.