Opponents try to delay five-star CMS rating system

Accreditation Insider, April 19, 2016

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Accreditation Insider!

This month, CMS plans to add a new “five-star” hospital rating system to its Hospital Compare website.  Under the system, hospitals would receive more stars for better compliance with a set of 62 measures that focus on mortality, safety, hospital readmissions, and the timeliness and effectiveness of care.

The plan has come under fire, however, with many saying the rating system is too simplified to show true quality and puts too much emphasis on patient satisfaction. So far, 60 senators, two congressmen, and the American Hospital Association (AHA) have sent or published letters to criticizing the rating system.

House Representatives Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) wrote to CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt saying hospitals in their districts were unable to replicate CMS’s methodology in testing the five-star rating system.

“We believe that additional time is necessary for hospitals and stakeholders to thoroughly review the data and understand the impact of the current methodology to ensure the validity and accuracy of the information before it is publicly released,” they wrote.

The AHA has been advocating that CMS not enact the star rating system since February 2015. While the organization says that the star system could work for specific clinical conditions such as cardiac care, they have serious reservations about using it to measure overall hospital quality.  

 “While the AHA supports the concept of providing an easier way for patients and communities to understand quality data, we are concerned that an overall hospital star rating oversimplifies the complexity of delivering high-quality care,” the AHA said in a press release. “This is especially true because the measures in the [inpatient quality reporting program] and [outpatient quality reporting program] were not chosen with the intention of creating a single score reflecting all aspects of quality.”

Using the rating system to look at past data, CMS said that out of 3,647 hospitals, 142 would get one star, about 1,881 would get three stars, and 87 would get five. It’s highly recommended that hospitals confidentially preview their overall hospital quality star rating through using the QualityNet Secure Portal.

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Accreditation Insider!

Most Popular