CMS adds new quality measures to its long-term care, inpatient rehabilitation comparison sites

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this week added new quality measures to its websites that allow patients to compare data on long-term care and inpatient rehabilitation facilities. 

The updates center on vaccination and infection rates. Long-Term Care Hospital Compare and Inpatient Rehabilition Facility Compare both now offer data on the percentage of employees at these facilities who were vaccinated for the flu, and will offer infection rates for two dangerous hospital-acquired infections: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile. 

Some of the country's most touted healthcare systems fail to prevent potentially-deadly C. diff infections, according to a recent analysis. C. diff infections can increase patient length of stay by more than 55% and may increase the cost of their care by 40% or more. 

Some-500,000 patients are infected annually and 29,000 patients die each year from the drug-resistant superbug, so researchers are focused on finding potential treatments. 

RELATED: Hospital Impact—Refreshing the conversation on CMS Star Ratings might help fix what Congress can't 

LTCH Compare and IRF Compare previously offered data on pressure ulcer rates, catheter-associated and bloodstream infection rates, patient flu vaccine rates and readmission rates. 

CMS's Hospital Compare star ratings are controversial among providers. Industry groups argue that the ratings are unfairly weighted to the detriment of hospitals that treat low-income or highly-complex patient populations. 

Analysts have said that patients may find the data "confusing at best and misleading at worst" in the star ratings' current form. Groups that provide such rankings however, like Healthgrades, argue that it's key for patients to have access to such quality data.