Just days after CMS received letters signed by 60 U.S. Senators and 225 members of the House of Representatives requesting a delay of the overall star rating, the agency announced it would postpone the launch until July. The letter, signed by Washington State’s Sen. Maria Cantwell and Reps. Suzanne DelBene, Denny Heck, David Reichert, Derek Kilmer and Dan Newhouse, states what WSHA has also expressed: the star rating may simplify complex measures to the point of inaccuracy.
There are many ways to measure the quality of health care: infection rates, early elective deliveries, readmissions, blood clots, falls, bed sores, patient satisfaction and many more. All of those and dozens more are published for the public on WAHospitalQuality.org.
However, combining all those disparate measures is difficult. Are the measures accurate, valid, current and universal for all patients? Do some hospitals have a comparatively higher star rating because their patients are healthier than patients in a poorer or older community? How do you help patients make the right choices for them? Although everyone wants to make quality data easier to understand, combining too many different measures brings the risk of making it less accurate.
WSHA and its member hospitals strongly support patients’ access to quality data, which is why we brought together many different datasets to WAHospitalQuality.org. WSHA includes CMS’ star rating for patient satisfaction scores. WSHA members strongly believe that patients should learn all they can about the quality of the health care choices available to them in their area and under their health plan.
Mary Kay Clunies-Ross
Vice President for Membership and Communications