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Number of 5-Star Hospitals Drops Dramatically

CMS updates Hospital Compare database

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has updated its Hospital Compare database with new patient-experience survey results, and the number of hospitals receiving a five-star Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) summary rating is down significantly since the last update in July.

When the ratings first went live in April, 251 hospitals earned the highest available rating of five stars. When the data were updated in July to reflect HCAHPS scores compiled from October 2013 through September 2014, that number increased to 336. Now, however, with HCAHPS data from January 2014 through December 2014, only 207 hospitals out of 3,539 earned a five-star HCAHPS summary star rating.

Earlier this year, the American Hospital Association criticized CMS’ Hospital Compare reporting methods, saying the agency omitted high-performing critical-access hospitals (CAHs), even though many CAHs voluntarily submitted patient-satisfaction data. The criticism spurred CMS to publish an addendum that included CAH data. Nancy E. Foster, AHA Vice President for Quality and Patient Safety Policy, noted, however, that the CMS did not post this information to Hospital Compare itself. Moreover, she said, the data list hospitals by CMS certification number and measure code, meaning that only industry insiders can interpret it.

A breakdown of the new star rating distributions issued by the CMS is as follows:

  • One star: 76 hospitals (121 hospitals prior)
  • Two stars: 638 hospitals (475 hospitals prior)
  • Three stars: 1,531 hospitals (1,320 hospitals prior)
  • Four stars: 1,087 hospitals (1,296 hospitals prior)
  • Five stars: 207 hospitals (336 hospitals prior)

Even though the AHA has urged the CMS to rethink how it generates these star ratings, the CMS does not plan to change its rating formula.

Sources: Becker’s Hospital Review, October 13, 2015; and FierceHealthcare, October 14, 2015.

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