The much maligned “star” rating system, whereby CMS reduces the complex healthcare quality and patient satisfaction data on the Hospital Compare website to a rating of one-to-five stars, will continue. CMS announced this past week that it would not update its Hospital Compare star ratings in October and will continue to keep posted the existing ratings released last December. Hospital groups, including MHA and AHA, along with 225 members of the U.S. House and 60 Senators, all have urged CMS to ditch the rating system until the methodology can be improved.
Hospital Compare includes 57 individual quality measures – such as success in preventing central line-associated bloodstream infections – and shows how a hospital measures up against the state and national averages for that measure. Over many objections, CMS has grouped and weighted the measures to create an overall “star” rating – the most common of which, CMS concedes, is three stars. “The measures included in the ratings were never intended to create a single, representative score of hospital quality,” the American Hospital Association wrote in a letter to CMS on September 25.