The website rates hospice providers on a five-star scale based on seven hospice experience of care measures:
- Beliefs/values addressed;
- Dyspnea, or shortness of breath, screening;
- Dyspnea treatment;
- Pain assessment;
- Pain screening;
- Patients treated with opioids who are given a bowel regimen; and
- Treatment preferences.
Caregivers, family members, health care providers, and patients can compare up to three hospice providers at a time by searching either by providers' names or locations. The website also will display how hospice providers perform on the quality metrics relative to the national average.
According to CMS, the performance data currently displayed on the website are based on information collected and submitted to the agency by approximately 3,876 hospice providers throughout the United States. The providers submitted that data through CMS' Hospice Quality Reporting Program via:
- The Hospice Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems; and
- The Hospice Item Set.
CMS said it will add data from the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems Hospice survey to the website by early 2018. Further, CMS officials said the agency in late 2018 will add to the website data on a measure related to the number of visits hospices receive when a patient's death is imminent, McKnight's Long Term Care News reports.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma in a statement said, "The Hospice Compare website is an important tool for the American people and will help empower them in a time of vulnerability as they look for information necessary to make important decisions about hospice care for loved ones."
William Dombi, vice president for law at the National Association of Hospice and Home Care, said, "The opening of Hospice Compare is an important step forward in providing Medicare beneficiaries with vital information about care quality among the hospices across the country." He added that the website advances CMS' goal of "provid[ing] greater public information and transparency in health care quality."
Joy Cameron, vice president of policy and innovation at ElevatingHOME, said, "The current Hospice Compare site is a good first step and ElevatingHOME looks forward to working with CMS on their rating system development and implementation."
Katharine Eastvold, director of regulatory and government affairs at Illinois HomeCare & Hospice Council, said, "The website is pretty bare bones right now in terms of measures that are on there," but added that the believes observers will "get a better sense of how it actually affects the industry as it becomes more robust and more fleshed out" (Buck, RACmonitor, 8/16; AHA News, 8/16; Mongan, McKnight's Long Term Care News, 8/17; Calma, Home Health Care News, 8/16; CMS Fact Sheet, 8/16).
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