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CMS to Update ‘Hospital Compare’ Rankings With Critical Access Data

Hospital association calls current listings ‘unusable’

After introducing a five-star scale that ranks hospitals on patient satisfaction earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Hospital Compare website is set to release a second round of rankings, including data for critical access hospitals (CAHs), according to an article on the FierceHealthcare website.

After the initial release in April omitted CAH data, the American Hospital Association (AHA) criticized the decision in a letter, noting that while CAHs are exempt from the CMS’ quality-reporting requirement because of low patient volumes, 94% of CAHs are registered to submit their quality data, and many payers –– public and private –– base pay-for-performance reimbursements on Hospital Compare data.

In mid-June, the CMS uploaded a file containing the CAH data that were missing from the initial Hospital Compare update. However, the CMS did not post the information to Hospital Compare itself, according to Nancy E. Foster, AHA Vice President for Quality and Patient Safety Policy. Moreover, the 3,154-page file, rather than listing hospitals by name or measure, identifies providers by their CMS certification numbers and the code for the measures, a format “unusable to anyone without significant expertise in data analysis,” she wrote.

Not only does this format leave patients unable to determine their local providers’ rankings, it prevents hospitals from determining opportunities for improvement or identifying better performers as a model for their strategies, according to the letter.

CAHs, despite numerous reimbursement cuts, can serve as a model for patient-centered, cost-reducing care models, FierceHealthcare previously reported. However, federal minimum-distance requirements may disrupt care for communities that depend on CAHs.

Sources: FierceHealthcare; July 6, 2015; AHA News; June 26, 2015; and AHA; June 24, 2015.


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