Reps. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) and Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) introduced the Hospital Quality Rating Transparency Act of 2016 (H.R. 6088), bipartisan legislation that would delay release of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Hospital Compare Star Ratings to give CMS and stakeholders time to work together to address concerns with the methodology. Currently, Star Ratings do not take into account important differences in the patient populations and the complexity of conditions that teaching hospitals treat [see Washington Highlights, April 22].
AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, applauded the introduction stating, “Patients need accurate and reliable information in order to make decisions about their health care. The current proposed methodology for the Hospital Compare Star Ratings does not provide this, but rather may mislead patients into making poor decisions about hospitals.”
In related Star Ratings activity, Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) Chairman Francis J. Crosson, MD, sent a September 22 letter to CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt expressing concern “that the current Hospital Star Rating program may not fully account for differences in the intrinsic health risks that patients bring to the hospitals, and therefore may not produce a true “apples-to-apples” comparison of hospitals.” It further encourages “the use of outcome over process measures to assess provider quality” and states concern that there “are currently too many, overlapping hospital quality payment and reporting programs, which creates unneeded complexity in the Medicare program.”