April 21, 2015 — The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced star ratings on the Hospital Compare public information website to make it easier for consumers to choose a hospital and understand the quality of care they deliver.
Star ratings relate to patients’ experience of care at almost 3,500 Medicare-certified acute care hospitals. The ratings are based on data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey (HCAHPS) measures that are included in Hospital Compare. HCAHPS has been in use since 2006 to measure patients’ perspectives of hospital care, and includes topics like:
- How well nurses and doctors communicated with patients
- How responsive hospital staff were to patient needs
- How clean and quiet hospital environments were
- How well patients were prepared for post-hospital settings
“The patient experience Star Ratings will make it easier for consumers to use the information on the Hospital Compare website and spotlight excellence in healthcare quality,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, Acting Principal Deputy Administrator for CMS and Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality. “These star ratings also encourage hospitals and clinicians to strive to continuously improve the patient experience and quality of care delivered to all patients.”
The Nursing Home Compare site already uses star ratings to help consumers compare nursing homes and choose one based on quality. Physician Compare has started to include star ratings in certain situations for physician group practices, and CMS recently added star ratings to the Dialysis Facility Compare site to help to make data on dialysis centers easier to understand and use. Star ratings are planned for Home Health Compare later this year.
These ratings continue to move the healthcare system toward the Affordable Care Act call for transparent, easily understood and widely available public reporting. They also are a part of the Obama Administration’s Digital Government Strategy by providing content in customer-centric ways.
Consumers will now see 12 HCAHPS Star Ratings on Hospital Compare, one for each of the 11 publicly reported HCAHPS measures, plus a summary star rating that combines or rolls up all the HCAHPS Star Ratings. These star ratings will be updated each quarter.
For more information: www.cms.gov