CMS postpones July hospital star ratings update

CMS will not update the Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings on its Hospital Compare website in July — marking the second consecutive year the agency postponed the midsummer update, the American Hospital Association reported.

A revised date or timeline for the next star ratings update was not included in the report.

"CMS has decided to postpone the July star ratings update to give time for additional analysis of the impact of changes to some of the measures on the star ratings and to address stakeholder concerns," the agency said. "When changes are made to the underlying measures it is vital to take the time needed to understand the impact of those changes and ensure we are giving consumers the most useful information."

CMS said it will gather feedback on the star ratings from a panel of multidisciplinary technical experts, a provider leadership workgroup and the public.

The decision marks several recent instances CMS chose to postpone these updates, including a delay to its scheduled October 2017 update, which came after the agency decided not to update the ratings in July 2017.

The agency cancelled the July 2017 update due to issues involving several quality measures, including central line-associated bloodstream infections and Clostridium difficile infections.

After the five-month delay, CMS last updated the ratings on December 21, 2017.

The AHA has previously raised questions to the agency about the data included in the star ratings preview reports, and supported the agency's decision to postpone its next update.

"CMS made the right call in postponing the July update of star ratings, and we appreciate the agency allowing more time for a fuller analysis of its methodology and measures and to hear from stakeholders, including hospitals and health systems, about concerns found in many preview reports," said AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels.

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