The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today updated its overall hospital quality star ratings at Hospital Compare and proposed future changes to the star ratings methodology in response to stakeholder feedback. According to CMS, the proposed changes would make hospital comparisons more precise and consistent, and allow more direct “like-to-like” comparisons. One potential change would place hospitals with similar characteristics into “peer groups,” allowing small hospitals to be compared to other small hospitals instead of all hospitals, for example. CMS will accept comments on the proposed changes through March 29.
 
“America’s hospitals and health systems have long supported transparency on quality and safety data because patients and their families need clear, useful information to make health care decisions,” said AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels. “However, CMS’s approach to star ratings has been flawed from the outset. Today’s update has not addressed the major concerns about the methodology and usefulness of the star ratings. That is why the AHA asked CMS to postpone its publication until concerns about the methodology could be remedied. We appreciate that CMS continues to seek comment on changes, but would have preferred the agency had waited to release these ratings until a more reliable methodology is in place. We remain committed to working with CMS on our shared goal – providing the public with accurate, purposeful information about quality.”

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