Hospital Compare 5-star ratings plummet

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Hospital Compare database saw a steep decline in the number of hospitals earning perfect five-star ratings on patient experience, according to an analysis by Becker's Hospital Review.

CMS first announced the rankings in April, with 251 providers receiving five stars, and by July, the number had more than doubled to 548. The rankings incorporate Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey results to assign a star rating for each of the survey's 11 measures as well as an overall rating for the hospital. The most recent data, however, found that the number plummeted to 207 during the period between January 2014 and December 2014, putting the number below the original figure, according to Becker's.

But the article noted that the number of hospitals receiving only one star also fell, albeit not as drastically, going from 121 to 76, according to Becker's.

CMS will continue to update the rankings quarterly.

Earlier in the year, the American Hospital Association criticized CMS' Hospital Compare reporting methodology, saying the agency omitted high-performing critical access hospitals (CAHs), even though many CAHs voluntarily submitted patient satisfaction data. The criticism spurred CMS to publish an addendum including CAH data, but AHA Vice President for Quality and Patient Safety Policy Nancy E. Foster noted that the agency did not post it to Hospital Compare itself. Moreover, she said, the data list hospitals by CMS Certification Number and measure code, meaning only industry insiders can properly interpret it.

To learn more:
- read the analysis
 - here are the CMS datasets

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