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CMS releases overall hospital quality data

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is preparing to unleash some stark numbers on care quality at individual hospitals across the country.

But before CMS publishes those star ratings on specific hospitals (coming soon), it has compiled and published a statistical overview of the various rating categories – called the Overall Hospital Quality Star rating system – and where different classes of hospitals fit in.

The rating methodology takes into account 62 quality measures reported by hospitals, using EHR and other data, related to routine care patients receive when being treated for heart attacks and pneumonia as well as measures focusing on hospital-acquired infections.

Among the key measures, according to a CMS fact sheet, are:

  • How often patients get an infection after surgery
  • Patient wait times in the emergency department
  • Rates of complications after hip replacement surgery
  • Readmission rates after a heart attack
  • How often patients receive multiple CT scans or MRIs

The star rating system ranges from five stars at the top of the quality range to one star at the bottom. The hospital categories include size, teaching status, safety net and critical access.

Perhaps not surprisingly, “CMS’ analysis shows that all types of hospitals have both high performing and low performing hospitals,” according to the fact sheet.

“In other words, hospitals of all types are capable of performing well on star ratings and also have opportunities for improvement,” it continued.

Of the 4,599 hospitals included in the ratings, 102, or 2.2%, received five stars. Some 934, 20.3%, got four stars. The biggest category was three stars, with 1,770, or 38.5% of the hospitals. At the low end, 723, or 15.7%, got two stars, and 133, 2.9%, were classified as one star.

About a fifth of the hospitals included in the survey did not meet and so did not receive star ratings.

Other hospital care quality information, including patient-reported measures, can be found on the CMS web site, Hospital Compare.