CMS Updates Consumer Resources for Comparing Hospital Quality

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) updated hospital performance data on the Hospital Compare website and data.medicare.gov this week, which allows patients, families and stakeholders to compare hospitals and make informed healthcare decisions.

This data includes specific measures of hospitals’ quality of care, many of which are updated quarterly, and the overall hospital star ratings, which were last updated in Dec. 2017. The data are collected through CMS’s Hospital Quality Initiative programs.

The star ratings drive systematic improvements in care and safety as hospitals strive to achieve and maintain high ratings. Consumers and patients point to Hospital Compare and the star ratings as important resources and rely on the latest data. Many hospitals rely on these ratings to identify areas for improvement.

CMS also posted potential changes to the hospital star ratings for public comment. The changes under consideration, intended to respond to stakeholder feedback, seek to enhance the ratings methodology by making hospital comparisons more precise and consistent, and allowing more direct, “like-to-like” comparisons.

One potential change, recommended by some hospitals, would place hospitals with similar characteristics into “peer groups,” allowing, for example, small hospitals to be compared to other small hospitals instead of all hospitals.

CMS developed these potential changes with feedback from hospitals and other stakeholders through a series of listening sessions and considering input from a technical expert panelPublic comments on the potential changes are due March 29.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) issued an advisory about the updated star ratings several weeks ago, which includes talking points.

For more information, contact Chris Clarke at THA, 615-401-7437.