The CMS released on Wednesday its Hospice Compare website, which offers a “snapshot of the quality of care each hospice facility offers to its patients.” The site features quality measures for about 3,900 hospices.
Hospice Compare is an attempt to improve transparency and empower consumers to make healthcare decisions for themselves and their families, said the CMS.
The site allows people to compare hospice providers based on certain quality metrics, such as the percentage of patients who were screened for pain or difficult or uncomfortable breathing, or whether patients’ preferences are being met, said the CMS.
Hospice Compare is the latest CMS site geared to provide consumers with quality information. Other CMS compare site compare hospitals, dialysis centers, home health organizations, long-term care hospitals and nursing homes.
The compare sites are part of CMS' effort to make data more transparent and to help patients choose the best facilities for them. But providers have criticized star ratings programs as oversimplified and misleading. The hospital star ratings program has been particularly criticized. In June, the American Hospital Association (AHA) asked the CMS to suspend the program, which it called "deeply flawed."
The organization has said the program raises more questions than answers for patients, and that hospital quality can't truly be conveyed by a ranking of one to five stars.The AHA has also said CMS errors have led to misclassifications, and the programs add to the already large problem of regulatory burden and excessive paperwork.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma called Hospice Compare “a reliable resource for family members and caregivers.” The CMS said the site will “reflect current industry best practices for consumer-facing websites and will be optimized for mobile use.”
Hospices can review quality measure results during a 30-day preview period using a Hospice Provider Preview Report, which will be issued quarterly by the CMS. At that time, facilities can review their results on each quality measure prior to the information going onto Hospice Compare.