Number of 5-star hospitals up slightly in new Hospital Compare update

CMS updated its Hospital Compare database Wednesday with new HCAHPS survey results, and the number of hospitals that received a five-star summary rating for patient experience is up slightly from the December update. The improvement reverses a two-quarter slide in the number of hospitals that received the highest rating.

When the HCAHPS summary star ratings went live in April 2015, 251 hospitals earned the highest possible rating. In CMS' July 2015 update, that number shot up to 336. However, since then, the number of five-star hospitals took a tumble, dropping to 207 in the October 2015 update and to 155 in the December 2015 update.

Now, 168 of the 3,544 rated hospitals have a five-star rating, showing a slight uptick from December's update.

These star ratings are based on HCAHPS scores and differ from the more controversial overall star ratings that were supposed to launch in April. CMS delayed the release of those star ratings due to stakeholder pressure, with a new go-live date scheduled for July.

The following is a breakdown of the new star rating distribution:

  • One star: 65 hospitals (71 hospitals prior)
  • Two stars: 584 hospitals (633 hospitals prior)
  • Three stars: 1,638 hospitals (1,510 hospitals prior)
  • Four stars: 1,089 hospitals (1,173 hospitals prior)
  • Five stars: 168 hospitals (155 hospitals prior)

The rise in five-star hospitals can be seen as a win for patient safety, given recent research that shows five-star hospitals have lower mortality and readmission rates than lower-rated hospitals, despite being based solely on patient satisfaction scores.

Find more information on how CMS calculates its HCAHPS summary star ratings here.

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