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16% of Orgs Get Top-Marks in CMS Hospital Star Ratings for July 2023

The CMS Hospital Star Rating update in July 2023 showed just a fraction of organizations rank highly for patient safety, patient experience, and outcomes.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has updated the CMS Hospital Star Ratings, outlining which hospitals perform well in categories like patient safety, patient experience, and overall patient outcomes.

The update, newly released in July 2023, showed that of the 3,076 hospitals that received ratings as part of the assessment, only about 16 percent got the coveted 5-star rating.

Around 26 percent of hospitals got a 4-star rating, while about 28 percent got a 3-star rating and just under 22 percent got a 2-star rating. A nominal 8 percent of hospitals received a 1-star rating, the agency said.

Around a third of hospitals submitting measures to CMS did not receive a star rating because they did not submit enough measures or report for enough categories to meet the criteria, the agency noted.

The CMS Hospital Star Ratings are patient-facing tools to help consumers and their family members make decisions about where they can access care for planned procedures, like certain surgeries or giving birth.

“The primary objective of the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating project is to summarize information from existing quality measures reported on Care Compare in a way that is useful and easy to interpret for patients and consumers through the development of a statistically sound methodology,” the agency writes in a report of the July 2023 rankings.

The Hospital Star Ratings assess five different measure groups, including mortality, safety of care, readmission, patient experience, and timely and effective care. Hospitals are beholden to submitting data on applicable measures that rest within each of those groups.

However, not all hospitals are able to submit every measure or every group, CMS acknowledges. In order to receive a star rating, hospitals must submit to at least three measure groups, two of which being mortality and safety of care.

This year, hospitals submitted an average of 26.2 measures across an average of 3.6 groups. When hospitals do not submit enough measurement data, they do not qualify for receiving a star rating, according to CMS.

For the July 2023 star ratings update, 3,076 of the 4,654 submitting hospitals received a star rating. That is 46 fewer hospitals getting a rating in 2023 than did in 2022, CMS reported.

CMS has gone to lengths to emphasize the use of the Hospital Star Ratings as patient engagement tools and decision aids. The agency noted that the Hospital Star Ratings help synthesize factors like clinical quality and patient experience to help patients and their families make informed treatment decisions.

Studies have shown that those are just a few of the factors that go into picking a treatment facility. Separate studies have shown that patients also consider cost and proximity to home when picking out a healthcare provider.

The Hospital Star Ratings, which are featured on the CMS Care Compare website, do let patients view hospitals based on proximity to a zip code, but it may not be clear how much a hospital charges for a certain service or whether it is in the patient’s payer network.

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