- A new rating system rolled out this week by the CMS aims to help healthcare consumers compare quality at different facilities. It can be viewed on Hospital Compare, the agency's public information website.
- The ratings are based on HCAHPS survey evaluations of patients' experiences at hospitals, on topics that include provider communication and responsiveness, and facility cleanliness and quietness. The ratings are to be updated quarterly.
- A Modern Healthcare review of the ratings notes that 101 hospitals received one star; 582 received two stars; 1,414 received three stars; 1,205 received four stars; and just 251 received the top ranking of five stars.
The ratings are part of CMS' efforts toward transparency, as mandated by the ACA, as well as an effort to provide material in a customer-centric way, per the Digital Government Strategy. But the rollouts of these rating systems have been met with some criticism regarding the methodology employed and the question of whether they will actually confuse consumers rather than help them. The AHA has expressed concern that the ratings are an oversimplification of complex care issues:
"The reasons that patients seek care from hospitals are varied," Akin Demehin, the AHA's senior associate director of policy, told Modern Healthcare. "We are not confident that a star-rating approach—especially one that would encompass all of the measures on Hospital Compare and roll them up into a single overall star rating—is going to give patients the insight on the quality of their hospitals that CMS is hoping."
Star ratings are already in place on the Nursing Home Compare site and the Dialysis Facility Compare site. They're also in place in some instances on the Physician Compare site, and they will be added to the Home Health Compare later this year.