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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Comments on CMS’s Proposal for an Overall Star Rating on Hospital Compare

    Len Marquez, Senior Director, Government Relations

    The AAMC Aug. 27 submitted comments on the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services’ (CMS) proposed methodology for developing an overall institution specific star rating for display on Hospital Compare. This is the second and final report from CMS on the Hospital Compare star rating issue. CMS currently includes star ratings on the Hospital Compare website for performance on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers (HCAHP)’s survey. CMS has not released a final timeline for including an overall star rating display on the website.

    In its letter, the AAMC raises concerns with the inclusion of an overall star rating system, noting that a “single composite rating that combines diverse quality measures, particularly those that lack clinical nuance, oversimplifies the complex factors that must be taken into account when assessing the value of the care quality.” The letter also comments that “consumers utilizing the website should have the final say as to which aspect of care is most relevant to their specific situation. A rating that combines all of the multiple dimensional aspects into a single summary score may not provide a consumer with the information that is truly important for his or her situation.”

    The AAMC recommends in its comments that CMS should focus on developing star ratings for a subset of individual measures, rather than pursue an overall star rating at this time. As stated in the letter, the AAMC believes that star ratings for a subset of measures may be more meaningful and actionable for both consumers and providers. The association also requests that CMS provide a distribution of star ratings by hospital type under the proposed methodology so that stakeholders can determine whether certain types of hospitals are disproportionately achieving higher or lower ratings.