Health Information Management

News: CMS announces new five-star rating system

CDI Strategies, May 14, 2015

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Consumers looking for a hospital will no longer have to sort through confusing websites and pages of reviews. Now, they can consult a simple five-star rating system—from CMS.

On April 16, CMS introduced star ratings on Hospital Compare, the agency’s public information website that includes reviews and information of nearly 3,500 Medicare-certified acute care hospitals. The ratings are based on data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey (HCAHPS) measures that are included in Hospital Compare.

HCAHPS, which has been in use since 2006, measure patient’s perspectives on hospital care using 11 categories. It focuses on the patient’s experience of care, such as how well nurses and doctors communicated with patients, and how clean and quiet hospital environments were.

The goal of the rating system is to make is easier for consumers to choose a hospital, and understand the quality of care they deliver. It is part of a bigger HHS initiative to build a healthcare system that delivers better care. The ratings help move the healthcare system toward the Affordable Care Act’s call for transparent, easily understandable and widely available public reporting. They also are a part of the Obama Administration’s Digital Government Strategy by providing content in customer-centric ways.

Currently, only 7% of hospitals received a five-star rating, HealthLeaders Media reports. The bulk fell into the three-star range. Consumers will see 12 HCAHPS star ratings for each hospital on the site—one for each of the 11 survey questions, plus an overall average score. The star ratings will be updated each quarter.

For more information, read the CMS announcement, or the HCAHPS website. 

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