CMS has awarded 168 hospitals a five-star rating for patient experience on its Hospital Compare website, while more than 600 hospitals received just one or two stars.
The ratings are based on the 11 publicly reported measures in the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey.
The agency released its first star ratings for hospitals in April 2015, and it now updates the ratings based on new HCAHPS data on a quarterly basis. The latest update, released this week, is based on HCAHPS survey data collected between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015.
These patient experience ratings are distinct from CMS's overall hospital quality star ratings that were originally scheduled to launch in April 2016. Last month, the agency announced that those ratings would be delayed until July—at the earliest—in response to concerns from providers and lawmakers that the ratings used flawed methodology.
How hospitals fared
In total, CMS awarded five-star ratings to 168 out of 3,544 Medicare-certified acute-care hospitals. In addition:
- 1,089 hospitals received four stars;
- 1,638 hospitals received three stars;
- 584 hospitals received two stars; and
- 65 hospitals received one star.
The ratings suggest a modest improvement in patient experience from the last ratings update in December 2015, when CMS awarded just 155 hospitals a five-star rating. However, the latest update still awards the second-fewest five-star ratings in the ratings' history.
This update also ranks fewer hospitals as one star. CMS rated 101 hospitals as one-star institutions in April 2015, 76 in October 2015, and 121 in July 2015 (Punke, Becker's Infection & Clinical Quality, 5/5; HCAHPS Technical Notes, accessed 5/6; HCAHPS Stars Ratings Distributions for April/May 2016, accessed 5/6).
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Star ratings reflect HCAHPS surveys competed from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015, as displayed in the Hospital Compare update released on May 4, 2016. Each hospital must have at least 100 completed surveys over a given four-quarter period and be eligible for public reporting of HCAHPS measures to receive a star rating.
What nurses can do to improve HCAHPS scores
The HCAHPS survey puts the assessment of hospital performance in patients' hands. Patients rate the care they receive in areas like pain management, communication with nurses, and responsiveness of hospital staff, and can then use the results to compare different hospitals in their area.
Health systems thus have the challenge of outperforming neighboring systems, and the opportunity to earn bonuses and identify specific performance improvement opportunities. Watch our video to learn why nurses are key players in the effort to boost their hospitals' HCAHPS scores, and how they can help their organizations stay ahead of the competition.