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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Leads Letter to CMS Calling for Delay in Star Ratings

    Len Marquez, Senior Director, Government Relations

    The AAMC March 18 submitted a joint hospital association letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) calling for a delay and modifications to the planned release of the Hospital Compare star ratings in April 2016. The American Hospital Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, and the Federation of American Hospitals also signed the letter.

    Under the CMS methodology, hospitals would receive a single, overall star rating based on performance on a selection of quality measures on the Hospital Compare website. The lowest performing institutions would receive one star and the highest would receive five stars.

    In the joint letter, the associations note their support for public reporting of performance data while citing concerns with the star ratings methodology and process for reporting this data. The letter states that hospitals and stakeholders had not received the full data from CMS and were therefore unable to evaluate or replicate the agency’s work. Other concerns focus on appropriate risk adjustment for specific quality measures that were included in the methodology.

    The associations specifically recommend the star ratings be delayed to allow for CMS to better understand the impact of the ratings and to determine whether any category of hospitals are disproportionately disadvantaged by the methodology. Additional recommendations include sharing the complete data with hospitals and stakeholders, a sociodemographic status adjustment for accountability measures used in the methodology, and the removal of certain quality measures that have been previously identified as insufficiently risk adjusted, such as the PSI-90 composite measure.