The groups says that Medicare’s five-star scale that rates the quality of care doesn’t offer a complete picture because it fails to reflect these distinct factors.
One way to address the problem, the groups say, is for CMS to add income-related information into its ranking calculations. The star-rating system currently uses patient-satisfaction data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey to determine the scores.
Beth Feldpush, senior vice president for policy and advocacy for America’s Essential Hospitals, told CMS that research warns that larger hospitals, teaching hospitals and hospitals serving many low-income patients could well receive lower star ratings even though they provide quality care to the most vulnerable populations. She also complains the system oversimplifies complex and individualized choices that patients must make about their health.
She urged the agency to use measures endorsed by the National Quality Forum that clearly account for these socio-economic and demographic factors.