Transparency at Stake in Hospital Ratings Debate

Jul 11, 2016 7:15 PM ET

Transparency at Stake in Hospital Ratings Debate 

How much do you know about the quality of the hospital you would use, if necessary? If it’s up to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, soon you’ll know a lot. The CMS has proposed a rating system to measure the overall quality of hospitals. On a scale of one to five stars, with five being the best, a single number will score each facility. The CMS believes that’s the easiest way for consumers to understand the value for hospital-delivered healthcare services. But there’s a problem, reports Modern Healthcare. Hospital groups argue that the CMS’s methodology does not take into account socioeconomic factors that may affect hospitals whose patients are more complex.

Advocates for the star system admit that giving a single rating to a complex institution with many departments, providers, and services is reductive, but that the benefits of transparency outweigh concerns about simplification. The CMS planned to publish the new ratings last April, but agreed to a delay until this month after Congress asked the agency to hold off. So watch for this debate to be settled soon, with either a newly published rating system—or another politically inspired delay.

I’m John Howell for 3BL Media.

Episode Sources: