CMS updates Hospital Compare data — how many hospitals have 5 stars for patient experience?

CMS updated patient satisfaction survey data on its Hospital Compare website April 28, which included calculating new HCAHPS summary star ratings for hospitals.

 

CMS started assigning hospitals a one through five star rating based solely on HCAHPS scores in April 2015. To calculate these summary star ratings, CMS first gives star ratings to hospitals for each of the11 HCAHPS questions. The summary star rating combines the 11 HCAHPS star ratings into one comprehensive metric. Read more about the method here.

As of April 28, 3,499 hospitals have an HCAHPS summary star rating. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Five stars: 188 hospitals
  • Four stars: 1,178 hospitals
  • Three stars: 1,493 hospitals
  • Two stars: 563 hospitals
  • One star: 77 hospitals

CMS provides these star ratings to "enable consumers to more quickly and easily assess the patient experience of care information that is provided on the Hospital Compare website," according to the CMS website.

Researchers are divided on if these star ratings will actually drive patients to higher-quality hospitals, since the ratings are based solely on patient experience scores, not on patient outcomes, and many industry leaders had adverse reactions to the ratings.

One study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine in April 2016, found hospitals with higher HCAHPS star ratings actually do have lower mortality and readmission rates. "These findings should be encouraging for policymakers and consumers; choosing five-star hospitals does not seem to lead to worse outcomes and in fact may be driving patients to better institutions," the authors concluded. "It is reassuring that patients can use the star ratings in guiding their healthcare-seeking decisions given that hospitals with more stars not only offer a better experience of care, but also have lower mortality and readmissions."

The JAMA Internal Medicine study aligned with another study published in April 2016 in the Journal of Patient Experience that found statistically significant associations between the number of stars for patient experience and multiple clinical outcomes — higher star ratings meant lower complication rates and readmissions, the researchers found.

However, a study from Quantros published in August 2016 produced contrary findings and said the star ratings are "misleading and may actually steer patients to hospitals with poor clinical outcomes."

Regardless, CMS updates the HCAHPS summary star ratings every quarter.

It is important to note patient experience star ratings differ from CMS' Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating program, which incorporates outcomes measures as well as patient experience scores.

The overall star ratings will be updated in July. As of the December update, here is the breakdown of overall star ratings:

  • Five stars: 83 in December
  • Four stars: 946
  • Three stars: 1,794
  • Two stars: 694
  • One star: 112

More articles on hospital ratings and rankings:
Truven names 15 top health systems for 2017
Employees say these are the 30 'best places to work in healthcare'
The 63 Leapfrog straight-A hospitals

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