CMS' Hospice Compare website contains errors regarding hospices' locations and service areas, but an agency spokesperson said CMS does not intend to take the website offline while it fixes the inaccuracies.
CMS in August launched Hospice Compare, which allows consumers to compare hospice providers based on their performance on several experience of care measures. 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.
According to CMS, the website currently displays performance data on about 3,876 hospice providers throughout the United States. 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.
Hospice Compare website has inaccuracies
However, CMS in late November warned users that searching for hospices by location might result in an incorrect list of providers that do not serve the city, state, or ZIP code entered in the search. CMS said it would work to resolve the issue, but recommended users call hospices to confirm the availability of local services. Hospices also have said the website displays incorrect phone numbers and profit statuses, Modern Healthcare reports.
Kate Goodrich, CMS' CMO and director of the agency's Center on Clinical Standards and Quality, said CMS is taking a multi-pronged approach to address the problems with the Hospice Compare website. For instance, CMS said going forward it will use hospice-submitted data on services areas, instead of the current data, which is pulled from claims forms.
"The problem is not with the website itself, but the underlying data source" related to the website's geographic search function, Goodrich said. She also noted that "Hospice Compare is much more accurate than it is inaccurate," with only 178 hospices calling CMS to address incorrect information and no consumers raising flags about inaccurate information.
As such, CMS said it does not intend to take the website offline while it fixes the problems. "Given the value that the website provides to numerous stakeholders, CMS is committed to addressing the inaccuracies as quickly and efficiently as possible while maintaining this important source of information to the public," Goodrich said.
CMS in November delayed a quarterly update of the site to give hospices more time to check the information on the website, but the agency said it intends to update the website before the end of December (Dickson, Modern Healthcare, 12/8; Dickson, Modern Healthcare, 11/28; Mullaney, Home Health Care News, 11/28; Mongan, McKnight's Long Term Care News, 11/30).
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