Four leading organizations representing the nation’s hospitals (American Hospital Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, America’s Essential Hospitals and the Federation of American Hospitals) sent a joint letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services this week expressing a significant concern about the agency’s hospital star rating system. Hospitals and their associations are concerned with the underlying data that goes into the new ratings system. This is partly based on the belief that the measures are inappropriately risk adjusted, which is a position other researchers and even MedPAC have shared.
In the letter, CMS was urged to delay the release of the star ratings to allow time to correct the flawed methodology and share the full star rating data with the hospitals prior to its release to allow time for review and replication. The associations also requested that measures that are found to be biased against some hospitals be removed from the formula in order for CMS to run the results again to see if these measures disproportionately affect certain types of hospitals. Finally, CMS was requested to adjust the star ratings for sociodemographic factors, which is being considered for Medicare Advantage plans.
Barring a delay, the star ratings will be released by CMS in April.