2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

Time: D H M S

CMS announces Hospital Compare Star Rating database...at Medicare.Gov?

Just a little while ago I reminded folks about HC.gov's OFF-exchange Plan Finder, which very few people seem to be familiar with.

Just moments ago, the CMS division of HHS announced a complete overhaul/update to their already-existing searchable Hospital Compare database, which appears to be basically a Yelp for hospitals. From today's CMS blog post:

When individuals and their families need to make important decisions about health care, they seek a reliable way to understand the best choice for themselves or their loved ones. That’s why over the past decade, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published information about the quality of care across the five different health care settings that most families encounter.[1] These easy-to-understand star ratings are available online and empower people to compare and choose across various types of facilities from nursing homes to home health agencies. Today, we are updating the star ratings on the Hospital Compare website to help millions of patients and their families learn about the quality of hospitals, compare facilities in their area side-by-side, and ask important questions about care quality when visiting a hospital or other health care provider.

Today’s ratings include the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating that reflects comprehensive quality information about the care provided at our nation’s hospitals. The new Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating methodology takes 64 existing quality measures already reported on the Hospital Compare website and summarizes them into a unified rating of one to five stars. The rating includes quality measures for routine care that the average individual receives, such as care received when being treated for heart attacks and pneumonia, to quality measures that focus on hospital-acquired infections, such as catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Specialized and cutting edge care that certain hospitals provide such as specialized cancer care, are not reflected in these quality ratings.

What I find most interesting about the Hospital Compare tool is that unlike the Rate Review and Plan Finder databases, this one is posted on the Medicare website. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, I just found that decision noteworthy, and a bit odd from a branding/marketing POV, especially since HC.gov added the "Network Lookup" and "Formulary Lookup" tools last year. I was really figuring that HC.gov would become the one-stop source for all of these sorts of tools, which makes sense to me; everyone needs "Healthcare" whereas not everyone is on "Medicare".

The graphic interface is also nothing at all like the more slick HC.gov interface: