CMS' overall star ratings: 4 thoughts from Leapfrog Group CEO Leah Binder

When CMS launched its Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating program last week, hospital groups were less than pleased. One person, however, has spoken out loudly in favor of the star ratings system — Leah Binder, president and CEO of the Leapfrog Group.

Ms. Binder wrote an opinion piece vigorously defending and praising CMS for releasing the star ratings, which lawmakers and stakeholders have called flawed. The opinion article was published by Forbes Monday.

Here are four thoughts from Ms. Binder on the program, gleaned from the Forbes opinion piece.

1. They're for the good of the patient. When patients have the data to make an informed decision about where to receive care, it can save them from the "heartache" of a medical error or infection obtained at a lower-quality hospital. "There's no excuse for suppressing or delaying the well-validated five-star ratings, especially considering the weight of what's at stake for patients," Ms. Binder wrote.

2. Nothing's ever perfect. Many stakeholders took issue with CMS' methodology, which they said is unfair to hospitals that see higher acuity patients or patients with a lower socioeconomic status. "No rating system is ever perfectly fair to everyone every time," Ms. Binder wrote, adding, "consumers aren't led astray by that simple fact" because they are used to consulting different ratings for other purchases.

3. CMS' methods were under the public eye. "Very few of the ratings used in other industries come close to the level of scientific scrutiny CMS applied to their star ratings," Ms. Binder wrote. "The testing and validation was exhaustive, and the sheer number of measures CMS used suggests they meet very high standards for reliability."

4. There's room for change. Even though Ms. Binder defended CMS for releasing the star ratings, she acknowledged there is room for improvement. "No doubt CMS will refine the five-star methodology over time, and continue to optimize the methods and measures," she wrote.

More articles on CMS' star ratings:
CMS releases overall hospital star ratings: 12 things to know
Where are the hospitals that received 1 star from CMS?
The 102 hospitals with 5 stars from CMS

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