CMS won't update hospital overall star ratings in July

CMS will not update its Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings in July, despite previous announcements it would do so, AHA News reports.

The previously scheduled update will not occur because of data issues with three measures:

  • Central line-associated bloodstream infections
  • Clostridium difficile infections
  • PSI-90

When CMS updates Hospital Compare data in July, CLABSI data will be suppressed and the C. diff measure will be suppressed for hospitals with incorrect data. The PSI-90 measure will not be refreshed, according to AHA News coverage of a QualityNet notice sent May 31.

CMS' Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating program has had a rocky past. Originally scheduled to launch in April 2016, the agency delayed the launch to July 2016 just one day before the scores were supposed to go live in April.

Several professional organizations have taken issue with the ratings, including the American Hospital Association, America's Essential Hospitals and the Federation of American Hospitals. For instance, Rick Pollack, president and CEO of AHA, called the ratings "confusing" in 2016 and said the "ratings scheme unfairly penalizes teaching hospitals and those serving higher numbers of the poor."

Further, the agency originally planned to update hospitals' star ratings each quarter. However, when CMS released the December 2016 update, it also announced the star ratings would only be updated twice in 2017: in July and December.

Now, CMS anticipates it will update the star ratings in October instead of July, per the AHA News report. Hospitals can start previewing the October ratings in July.

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