The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today released data on the national distribution of overall hospital quality star ratings and by hospital characteristics, including bed size, teaching status, safety-net status, eligibility for Disproportionate Share Hospital payments and critical access hospital status. The agency said it intends to post the ratings for individual hospitals shortly. Earlier this month, the AHA, Association of American Medical Colleges, America’s Essential Hospitals, and Federation of American Hospitals urged CMS to share additional information with hospitals and the public about how accurately its overall hospital quality star ratings portray hospital performance, and to work with hospitals to validate the methodology or continue to withhold publication of the ratings. As many as 225 members of the House of Representatives and 60 senators also urged CMS to delay the April 21 release of the ratings “to provide the necessary time to more closely examine the star rating methodology, analyze its impact on different types of hospitals, and provide more transparent information regarding the calculation of the ratings to determine accuracy.” A recent analysis by an expert in econometrics found several shortcomings in CMS’s approach to the ratings. “Today CMS released impact data in an effort to better assess the accuracy of its new hospital Stars methodology,” said Ashley Thompson, AHA senior vice president for public policy analysis and development. “The data continues to raise questions and concerns, as it may unfairly penalize teaching hospitals and those serving the poor. We urge CMS to work with the hospital field to ensure its methodology is fair and reliable, so that patients will have access to useful information.”