CMS updates its hospital ratings. How did your hospital fare?

Most hospitals received a three-star rating

CMS this month named 85 more "five-star" hospitals on its Hospital Compare website, but nearly 600 hospitals received just one or two stars.

The agency in April released its first five-star ratings for hospitals as part of a broader effort to offer star ratings on all of CMS's consumer-facing Compare websites. Medicare first began using star ratings in 2008, when it applied them to nursing homes. It has recently implemented similar programs for home health providers, dialysis facilities, and large group practices.

The hospital rating system offers a star rating based on the 11 publicly reported measures in the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, which assesses patient experiences.

The updated ratings are based on HCAHPS survey results for the reporting period from October 2013 to September 2014. CMS plans to update the rankings every quarter.

How hospitals fared

In total, Medicare awarded five-star ratings to 336 (about 9.5%) of the 3,548 eligible hospitals—up from 251 of the 3,553 eligible hospitals in April. In addition:

  • 1,296 hospitals (about 36.5%) received four stars;
  • 1,320 hospitals (about 37%) received three stars;
  • 475 hospitals (about 13.5%) received two stars; and
  • 121 hospitals (about 3.5%) received one star.

Medicare did not rate 1,108 hospitals because it lacked adequate patient experience data during the survey period (Powderly, Healthcare Finance, 7/23; Budryk, FierceHealthcare, 7/24).

Hospital Star Rating Map
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Star ratings reflect HCAHPS surveys competed from 10/1/2013 to 9/30/2014, as displayed in the Hospital Compare update released on July 16, 2015. Each hospital must have a 100 completed surveys over a given four quarter period, and be eligible for public reporting of HCAHPS measures to receive a star rating.

From our expert: How to think about hospital rankings

The glut of ratings raises two questions. First, is anyone paying attention—beyond largely ambivalent hospital executives?

And second, how much should hospitals care about these rankings?

In an interview with the Daily Briefing's Clare Rizer, the Marketing and Planning Leadership Council's Alicia Daugherty discussed the Advisory Board's research on rankings, addressed some of the criticism that these systems have received, and touched on whether a good rating can lead to a return on investment (ROI).


How we can help

The Advisory Board offers myriad resources to help you improve patient experience, including:

  • Ensure excellence for every patient, every day. Creating a positive patient experience builds loyalty—and loyalty could mean nearly $3 million of revenue potential for a typical hospital. Our technology helps you improve the patient experience by gathering satisfaction data in real time while automatically disseminating service recovery requests and providing intelligent dashboards.
  • Why so many patient experience efforts fail. We know the causes of failure for patient experience initiatives, and we have a data-driven, closed-loop approach that has led to more than 40% increases in HCAHPS rankings in patient experience.

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