Five-star hospitals double in quarterly Hospital Compare update

The number of hospitals earning perfect scores on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' five-star scale doubled in a new round of ratings, according to an analysis by Healthcare Finance News.

In April, when CMS first announced its rankings, 251 hospitals earned the top score on CMS' Hospital Compare website, but the most recent update showed 548 hospitals earned five stars for the reporting period from October 2013 to September 2013. The number of hospitals earning only one star increased from 101 to 102.

CMS plans quarterly updates on the rankings, which are based on Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores. A wide array of hospital scores are already widely available, including rankings from the Leapfrog Group, Healthgrades, Truven and U.S. News & World Report, to the point that many consumers have complained the sheer amount of ratings is confusing and contradictory. However, the CMS rankings carry more weight to the role of HCAHPS scores in calculating value-based Medicare reimbursements, notes Healthcare Finance News.

Earlier in the month, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness, an indpendent watchdog group, accused CMS of failure to comply with notice-and-comment laws in creating its methodology for the rankings, as well as lack of transparency when it altered the five-star ratings system.

Critics have also hit the agency for omitting data from critical access hospitals that voluntarily reported their scores, leading CMS to publish an addendum including that data, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the article
- download the most recent data updates