- Two hundred and twenty-five members of the House of Representatives are urging CMS to postpone this week’s scheduled release of hospital star ratings, pending more details on the methodology used to determine the ratings.
- In an April 18 letter to CMS acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, the lawmakers warn that the star rating system, as currently devised, could hurt hospitals that perform more complex procedures or treat sicker or poorer patients by awarding them just one or two stars out of five.
- The letter follows a similar one signed by 60 senators last week.
CMS’ star rating system, scheduled for an April 21 release, is meant to help consumers shop for the best hospital experience by identifying facilities with high quality of care and positive outcomes. But certain flaws in the system’s design weight it against teaching hospitals that treat patients from the lower end of the socioeconomic scale, as well as patients requiring more complicated procedures, the letter stated.
“We are concerned that the hospital star ratings, in their current form, may be unfairly masking quality or, possibly, over-weighting of patient experience measures and will therefore not help consumers make well-informed decisions about which hospitals to use,” the lawmakers wrote.
The representatives also complain that hospitals weren’t given sufficient information about the methodology used to determine the star ratings or the data used to derive that score. “We have heard from hospitals in our districts that they do not have the necessary data to replicate or evaluate CMS’ work to ensure that the methodology is accurate or fair,” the letter says.
Release of the star ratings should be delayed until the methodology can be scrutinized and the system’s impact on different types of hospitals assessed, the lawmakers concluded. To determine the accuracy of the ratings, they also want CMS to be more transparent about how it calculates ratings.