CMS Releases First Hospital Compare Star Ratings System

Megan Brooks

April 17, 2015

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has introduced star ratings based on patient experiences on Hospital Compare, the agency's public information website, to make it easier for consumers to choose a hospital and understand the quality of care they deliver, the agency announced April 16.

The star ratings "build on a larger effort across HHS [US Department of Health & Human Services] to build a health care system that delivers better care, spends health care dollars more wisely, and results in healthier people," a news release from CMS says.

The Hospital Compare star ratings relate to patients' experience of care at nearly 3500 Medicare-certified acute-care hospitals.

The ratings are based on data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey (HCAHPS) measures, which include topics such as how well nurses and doctors communicate with patients, how responsive hospital staff are to patient needs, how clean and quiet hospital environments are, and how well patients are prepared for posthospital settings.

The HCAHPS survey is administered to a random sample of adult patients across medical conditions between 48 hours and 6 weeks after discharge.

"The patient experience star ratings will make it easier for consumers to use the information on the Hospital Compare website and spotlight excellence in health care quality," Patrick Conway, MD, CMS acting principal deputy administrator, said in a statement.

"These star ratings also encourage hospitals and clinicians to strive to continuously improve the patient experience and quality of care delivered to all patients," he added.

On Hospital Compare, consumers will now see 12 HCAHPS star ratings, one for each of the 11 publicly reported HCAHPS measures plus a summary star rating that combines all the HCAHPS star ratings.

CMS will update the ratings each quarter.

CMS has similar rating systems for nursing homes, physicians, and Medicare Advantage plans.


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