April 20, 2015

Hospitals get new ratings from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently introduced star ratings on Hospital Compare, the agency’s public information website, to make it easier for consumers to choose a hospital and understand the quality of care they deliver. The new star rating system ranks more than 3,500 hospitals across the country based on patients’ reviews.

Sisters of Charity Health System hospitals scored well in the patient survey summary star rating, with St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, St. John Medical Center and Providence Hospitals receiving four out of five stars and Mercy Medical Center receiving three stars. The new system is designed to help consumers understand how hospitals perform and “make informed decisions about health care,” according to Medicare.

The ratings are based on data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient experience survey. The survey measures patients’ experiences in 11 areas, including:

  • how well nurses and doctors communicate with patients
  • how responsive hospital staff members are to patient needs
  • how clean and quiet hospital environments are
  • how well patients are 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 health care quality,” said Patrick Conway, M.D., 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.”

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 all of the HCAHPS star ratings. These star ratings will be updated each quarter. CMS is already using a star system to rate nursing homes, dialysis centers and private Medicare Advantage insurance plans. This is the first time the system has been used with hospitals.

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