The new hospital star rating system was released by CMS last month, despite of the attempts from hospital advocacy groups to stop publishing the star ratings. The hospital ratings were published on the Medicare Hospital Compare website.
As per the rating system, hospitals are awarded with a score in the scale of five stars; five star rating being the highest. The ratings are awarded to hospitals based on an average score derived from sixty-four existing quality measures. These quality measures focused on varied areas; some of the measures considered routine care, while others focused on specific areas like hospital-acquired infections and so.
The split up of hospitals based on rating, out of the total 4,599 hospitals, is given below:
- 2% of the hospitals earned five stars
- 3% earned four stars
- 5% earned three stars
- 7% earned two stars
- 9% earned one star
Around 20.4% of the total hospitals were marked ineligible to be included in the rating list due to unavailability of reported data.
CMS asserted that they received many letters from consumer advocacy groups and patients to publish the ratings. However, there are many lawmakers and hospital advocacy groups, who lobbied against the release of the ratings and have expressed their discontent as the ratings are published now.
Originally, the star ratings were set to be released in April, but the plan was delayed due to a request from group of House members. Despite of all the opposition to the rating system, CMS is sure that the rating system will help “millions of patients and their families learn about the quality of hospitals, compare facilities in their area side-by-side, and ask important questions about care quality when visiting a hospital or other healthcare provider.”
Other medical centers like dialysis centers and nursing homes have been getting star ratings from CMS before the publication of the star rating for hospitals. CMS claims that this practice has helped to increase patient access to data and will bring in more transparency in healthcare. CMS also told that they are continuing to reach to hospitals to improve the rating system.