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CMS Adds 2 Compare Websites to Boost Healthcare Transparency

Inpatient rehabilitation facilities and long-term care hospitals will get their own Compare websites to improve healthcare transparency, CMS announced.

By Jacqueline Belliveau

- In effort to increase healthcare transparency, CMS recently added two new healthcare organization Compare websites and updated performance data for existing hospice care, hospital, and physician Compare websites.

Long-term care hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation facilities to get their own CMS Compare websites to boost healthcare transparency

“At CMS, one of our top priorities is to help individuals make informed healthcare decisions for themselves or their loved ones based on objective measures of quality,” Patrick Conway, MD, MSc, CMS Acting Principal Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer and Kate Goodrich, MD, MHS, CMS Center for Clinical Standards & Quality Director, wrote in a blog post.

“The CMS Compare websites are reliable sources of information where individuals can compare the quality of healthcare providers, facilities, and health plans, highlighting that people have a choice in their care.”

The federal agency announced that inpatient rehabilitation facilities and long-term care hospitals will join the ranks of other healthcare organizations, like hospitals, nursing homes, dialysis centers, and home health agencies, with their own CMS Compare websites.

Both inpatient rehabilitation facilities and long-term care hospitals already report quality and patient outcome performance to CMS. But the federal agency will now retool the quality data into a “a format that can be used more readily by the public to get a snapshot of the quality of care each hospital provides.”

For example, the new Compare websites will share important quality metrics for over 1,100 inpatient rehabilitation and 420 long-term care hospitals. The metrics include percentage of residents or patients with pressure ulcers that are new or worsened for a short stay at the respective facility and all-cause unplanned readmissions for 30 days post-discharge from the respective facility.

CMS noted that the new Compare websites “reflect current industry best practices for consumer-facing websites and will be optimized for mobile use.”

The hospice care, hospital, and physician Compare websites will also undergo several updates, according to the recent announcement.

CMS plans to include national averages of several quality measure scores for Medicare-certified hospices on the upcoming Hospice Compare website, which is scheduled to launch in summer 2017.

National averages will be available for the Hospice Item Set and the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Hospice survey. The Hospice Item Set information will be based on provider performance on seven National Quality Forum-endorsed quality measures from July 2015 to June 2016.

The CAHPA Hospice survey scores will reflect the care experience of informal caregivers, such as family members or friends, of patients who died while in hospice care from April 2015 to March 2016.

For the Hospital Compare website, CMS plans to update overall data to reflect more recent hospital performance.

The following performance updates will be posted on the website:

• Hospital CAHPS data refresh

• Addition of five oncology care measures that are part of the Prospective Payment System-Exempt Cancer Hospital Reporting Program

• Addition of a readmission after coronary artery bypass graft surgery measure from the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program

• Elimination of several Hospital Compare measures

• Inclusion of Veterans Health Administration data

While CMS plans to update quality measures on the website, many healthcare stakeholders still argue that the star ratings system on the website is oversimplified and flawed. In April, sixty senators called on CMS to delay the star ratings release because the methodology would penalize hospitals that treat large portions of patients with low socioeconomic status and multiple chronic conditions.

Additionally, the Physicians Compare website will also see new quality measures as well as a website redesign, CMS recently announced.

The new quality measures on the website will be “a significantly larger and more diverse set of quality information for group practices, individual clinicians, and Accountable Care Organizations on the Physician Compare website.”

CMs intends for new quality measures on the website to help Medicare beneficiaries evaluate data on group practices and clinicians from a wider range of specialties.

CMS will also develop a more user-focused Physicians Compare website that will make the website more mobile- and user-friendly.

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