The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ approach to overall hospital quality star ratings appears to have several shortcomings, according to a new analysis by an expert in econometrics, commissioned by the AHA. “While it appears to give the impression of being rigorous and objective the estimation aspect is highly dependent on choice of measures and the weighting scheme is entirely subjective and highly determinant of the final outcomes,” writes Francis Vella, chair of the Department of Economics at Georgetown University, among other concerns. Commenting on the study, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said, “Patients need reliable information to make important choices regarding their health care. And hospitals and health systems need reliable information so that they can continue to improve the quality of the care delivered. CMS star ratings misses the mark on both accounts.” CMS delayed the release of the ratings in April after AHA and 285 members of Congress raised concerns about the agency’s methodology.

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