CMS releases some overall star ratings data: How many hospitals have 5 stars?

Although CMS has not yet released its full Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating program to the public, on Thursday it released some data from the program, including the national distributions of the stars measuring hospitals on multiple facets of quality.

The overall star ratings were supposed to be made public in April, but due to pushback from stakeholders on the program's data and methodology, the agency delayed its release to an unspecified day in July. In Thursday's release, CMS said it anticipates launching the program "shortly."

But for now, CMS released the distribution of overall star ratings to the public. As it stands, just 102 hospitals would receive the best five-star rating from CMS. The following is the national distribution of overall star ratings:

  • Five stars: 102 hospitals (2.2 percent)
  • Four stars: 934 (20.3 percent)
  • Three stars: 1,770 (38.5 percent)
  • Two stars: 723 (15.7 percent)
  • One star: 133 (2.9 percent)

Additionally, CMS released distributions of star ratings broken down by hospital characteristics like bed size, teaching status and safety-net status.

Smaller hospitals (under 100 beds) had a higher mean overall star rating, at 3.29 stars, than hospitals with 200 or more beds, at 2.81 stars.

The average star rating for teaching hospitals (2.87) was similar but lower than non-teaching hospitals (3.11). Similarly, safety-net hospitals had a slightly lower average star rating (2.88) than non-safety-net hospitals (3.09).

That distribution is what many stakeholders were afraid of — they said because the star ratings did not adjust properly for hospitals that serve sicker, higher acuity patients or the number of patients with a low socioeconomic status, teaching hospitals and safety-net hospitals would receive lower star ratings than their non-teaching, non-safety-net hospitals.

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