Reps. Jim Renacci (R-OH) and Kathleen Rice (D-NY) today introduced a bill to delay for at least one year the introduction of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ new hospital star ratings to ensure the ratings are fair and reliable. The Hospital Quality Rating Transparency Act of 2016 (H.R. 5927) would delay the release of the hospital star ratings until no earlier than July 31, 2017 and require CMS to accept comments for 60 days on its methodology and the data used. In addition, it asks that the methodology and data be validated by a third party.The bill also would require the agency to remove the star ratings from the Hospital Compare website if they are posted prior to the bill’s enactment. “Patients need clear, meaningful information to make important health care decisions,” said AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels. “…We continue to urge CMS to work with hospitals and health systems to provide patients with a rating system that accurately reflects the quality of care provided at their facilities, and will work with Reps. Renacci and Rice to move this legislation forward.” AHA and many members of Congress have expressed concerns about the methodology underlying the star ratings and have urged CMS to delay their release.
Hospitals and clinicians are seeing fewer flu patients this season than in other recent years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
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