CMS offers 'one stop shopping' on its provider comparison websites

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has added new features to its websites that compare quality indicators for various types of healthcare providers. At the same time, it has begun providing information on Veterans Affairs hospitals.

A new Quality Care Finder offers "one-stop shopping" across CMS' various Compare websites. Included are comparative data on hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, dialysis facilities, physicians and health and drug plans for Medicare beneficiaries. (The "physician" site does not include quality information; it provides basic facts such as a doctor's specialties, address, group practice locations and languages spoken.)

The Quality Care Finder also links to lists of Medigap insurers, equipment suppliers, drug formularies and long-term care planning materials.

CMS has also updated its Hospital Compare site, where visitors can now access data about hospital-acquired infections and mortality rates among outpatients treated for heart attacks.

In addition, CMS has updated data on outcomes of inpatient care. This includes new 30-day mortality rates and 30-day readmission rates for patients admitted with heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia.

Finally, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced on Aug. 5 that CMS now includes VA medical centers in the Hospital Compare site. VA hospitals' overall mortality and readmission rates have already been posted on Hospital Compare. Similar data has been available on the VA's own Hospital Compare site since 2010, but that ranking is limited to VA patients.

"VA results posted on VA's site are updated quarterly and will not match the results on CMS Hospital Compare, which are only updated annually and lag about a year," said the VA press release.

To learn more:
- read the CMS press release
- see the VA press release

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