CMS Releases First Ever Hospital Compare Star Ratings

Comparison Ratings that Help Consumers Compare and Choose Among Hospitals

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for the first time introduced star ratings on Hospital Compare, the agency’s public information website, to make it easier for consumers to choose a hospital and understand the quality of care they deliver. Today’s announcement builds on a larger effort across HHS to build a health care system that delivers better care, spends health care dollars more wisely, and results in healthier people.

The Hospital Compare star ratings relate to patients’ experience of care at almost 3,500 Medicare-certified acute care hospitals. The ratings are based on data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey (HCAHPS) measures that are included in Hospital Compare. HCAHPS has been in use since 2006 to measure patients’ perspectives of hospital care, and includes topics like:

•           How well nurses and doctors communicated with patients

•           How responsive hospital staff were to patient needs

•           How clean and quiet hospital environments were

•           How well patients were prepared for post-hospital settings

“The patient experience Star Ratings will make it easier for consumers to use the information on the Hospital Compare website and spotlight excellence in health care quality,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, Acting Principal Deputy Administrator for CMS and Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality. “These star ratings also encourage hospitals and clinicians to strive to continuously improve the patient experience and quality of care delivered to all patients.”

The Hospital Compare ratings are just one example of how CMS is committed to helping consumers make informed health care decisions. The Nursing Home Compare site already uses star ratings to help consumers compare nursing homes and choose one based on quality. Physician Compare has started to include star ratings in certain situations for physician group practices, and CMS recently added star ratings to the Dialysis Facility Compare site to help to make data on dialysis centers easier to understand and use. Star ratings are planned for Home Health Compare later this year.

These ratings continue to move the health care system toward the Affordable Care Act call for transparent, easily understood and widely available public reporting. They also are a part of the Obama Administration’s Digital Government Strategy by providing content in customer-centric ways.

Consumers will now see 12 HCAHPS Star Ratings on Hospital Compare, one for each of the 11 publicly reported HCAHPS measures, plus a summary star rating that combines or rolls up all the HCAHPS Star Ratings. These star ratings will be updated each quarter.

For more information on today’s announcement, please visit here:

For more information about the HCAHPS Survey please visit the official HCAHPS On-Line Web site, here:

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1 Comment

  • I’m not a fan of “star ratings” when it comes to anything whether it be hospitals or hotels. This is simply because star ratings are abstracting so many details and calls into question how the star ratings were derived and if the weights use to arrive upon that abstractions are valid and dynamic enough and can adjust to a user’s preferences. Rather than appeasing consumers of healthcare with star ratings why can’t the underlying metrics and how they are measured not strictly governed and streamlined.

    If what we want consumers of healthcare services to do is to really do apple to apples comparison (given they are in the market for apples) let’s not just show them fruit arrangements from a distance and have them choose one.

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