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  • Washington Highlights

    CMS TEP Releases Second Star Ratings Report

    Len Marquez, Senior Director, Government Relations

    A Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) convened technical expert panel (TEP) July 17 released a report for public comment on the proposed methodology used to calculate an overall hospital quality star rating for the Hospital Compare website. Under the TEP’s proposal, hospitals would receive a maximum of five stars for performance on 75 inpatient and outpatient measures.

    This is the second report released by the TEP concerning hospital compare star ratings. The AAMC submitted comments on the first report in February 2015 [see Washington Highlights, Feb. 27]. Currently, CMS only publishes star ratings for the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers (HCAHPS) questions on Hospital Compare.

    The report proposes a two-step process for translating the individual measure scores into a star rating. First, the 75 measures are divided into seven separately weighted categories (mortality, safety, readmissions, patient experience, imaging efficiency, process effectiveness, and process timeliness) and then combined into a group-specific summary score. Next, CMS would use a K-means cluster analysis to turn the hospital group score into a star rating.

    This type of analysis is intended to group hospitals in a way that scores in each of the five clusters are closer to their group mean than to any other group mean. Under this methodology, the majority of hospitals would receive three out of five stars.

    CMS is currently holding a dry run for hospitals to review their individual overall rating and will hold a National Provider Call explaining the star rating methodology on Aug. 13. Comments on the report are due by Aug. 17.