CMS changed overall star rating formula in December update — here's what's new

CMS updated its Hospital Compare database in December, which included an update to its Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating program.

This was the second time the agency updated the overall quality star ratings after initially launching the program in July 2016 and updating rankings in October.

CMS changed the formula for calculating hospitals' star ratings in the December update, lowering the number of quality measures used from 64 measures in seven categories in October to 57 measures in the same seven categories:

  • Mortality (7 measures)
  • Safety of care (8 measures)
  • Readmission (8 measures)
  • Patient experience (11 measures)
  • Effectiveness of care (11 measures)
  • Timeliness of care (7 measures)
  • Efficient use of medical imaging (5 measures)

CMS removed the following measures in December compared to October:

  • CAC-3, home management plan of care document given to patient/caregiver
  • STK-1, venous thromboembolism prophylaxis
  • STK-6, discharged on statin medication
  • STK-8, stroke education
  • VTE-1, venous thromboembolism prophylaxis
  • VTE-2, intensive care unit venous thromboembolism prophylaxis
  • VTE-3, venous thromboembolism patients with anticoagulation overlap therapy

Also in December, CMS announced it would update the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating program only twice in 2017, instead of quarterly as previously announced. The updates will occur in July and December.

In the new update, significantly fewer hospitals earned five stars than in July or October. See the breakdown below.

  • Five stars: 83 in December (112 in October)
  • Four stars: 946 (970)
  • Three stars: 1,794 (1,789)
  • Two stars: 694 (701)
  • One star: 112 (121)

Additionally, 969 hospitals in December did not have enough data to receive an overall star rating. In October, that number sat at 937.

More details on the July, October and December updates to the Overall Hospital Star Rating program can be found here.

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