e CDive Brief:
On the site's profile pages, the CMS said groups may have measures reported including 2016 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) measures as star ratings, Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) for PQRS summary survey measures and non-PQRS Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) measures.
The 2016 PQRS performance information is divided into eight categories, including preventive care: general health, preventive care: cancer screening, patient safety, care planning, diabetes, heart disease and respiratory diseases.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) established the Physician Compare website to allow patients and caregivers to make informed choices about Medicare physicians and clinicians. CMS added the first quality measures to Physician Compare in 2014.
The CMS said it decided to add the star ratings after it conducted “extensive research and outreach,” including working with stakeholders. Unlike other parts of the ACA, most notably the exchanges, CMS Administrator Seema Verma supports the consumerism sites, including star ratings for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part B.
However, the CMS has not rolled out an update on its Hospital Compare site yet. The CMS shelved its October hospitals update to make changes to its hospital star rating methodology after groups like the American Hospital Association (AHA) spoke out about accuracy concerns. The AHA even asked the agency to suspend the program altogether earlier this year, calling the program “deeply flawed.” The AHA also called the ratings program a “regulatory burden” that is “substantial and unsustainable” for hospitals.
Some of the top U.S. hospitals have received average ratings in past years, while lower profile hospitals wound up with five stars.
Beyond CMS’ star ratings, critics have highlighted flaws in similar programs and spoken out about the negative effects these ratings can have on practices and health systems. A Chicago-based nonprofit is suing The Leapfrog Group for defamation after disputing its Leapfrog rating. Saint Anthony Hospital saw its Leapfrog safety grade drop from "A" to "C" this year. In its lawsuit suit, the hospital said receiving a "C" from The Leapfrog Group "will erase years of improvements at the hospital and irreparably degrade the public perception of the hospital."