Senators aren't the only ones who want the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services to delay the scheduled April 21 release of hospital quality star ratings. This week 225 members of the House also signed a letter that urged the agency to hold off on the release to make sure the data takes into account hospitals that treat patients with low socioeconomic status or multiple complex chronic conditions.
And the tactic may have worked. The American Hospital Association reported today that CMS will delay the release of overall star ratings until July but offered no further details.
The star-rating system was developed to help consumers identify hospitals that offer high quality of care and best outcomes. However, lawmakers said in the letter, "we are concerned that the hospital star ratings, in their current form, may be unfairly masking quality or, possibly, over-weighting of patient experience measures and will therefore not help consumers make well-informed decisions about which hospitals to use." Letter (.pdf)