Over the strong objections of the hospital field, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today released its new star ratings for hospitals on the Hospital Compare website. “The new CMS star ratings program is confusing for patients and families trying to choose the best hospital to meet their health care needs,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “Health care consumers making critical decisions about their care cannot be expected to rely on a rating system that raises far more questions than answers. And it adds yet another to a long list of conflicting rating and ranking systems … We want to work with CMS and the Congress to fix the hospital star ratings so that it is helpful and useful to both patients and the hospitals that treat them.” Earlier this month, the AHA and others urged CMS to share additional information with hospitals and the public about how accurately the overall hospital quality star ratings portray hospital performance, and work with hospitals to validate the methodology or continue to withhold publication of the ratings. AHA also shared an analysis by an independent expert that gave reason to believe that the assumptions on which the current model is based are flawed. The hospitals field’s concerns were echoed by a bipartisan majority of both houses of Congress, which in April urged CMS to delay the release of the star ratings to allow time to work with the hospital field to ensure the ratings are fair and reliable. This week, Reps. Jim Renacci (R-OH) and Kathleen Rice (D-NY) introduced a bill to delay for at least one year the introduction of the hospital star ratings.

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