By Dr. Patrick Conway, CMS Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality and Chief Medical Officer
When buying a product or service, looking at ratings can often help narrow down the choices. Some websites offer “star” ratings that give information about the quality of the products and services they offer. Wouldn’t it be helpful to have the same kind of ratings when choosing a health care provider?
It can be overwhelming when consumers are faced with having to choose a health care provider, such as a hospital, nursing home, or physician. Providers differ in the safety and quality of care they give, and having quality ratings available to compare providers can help consumers make more informed health care decisions. That’s why the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is committed to making it easier to use the information on our Compare sites.
Later this year and early in 2015, we’re adding a star rating system to the Hospital Compare, Dialysis Facility Compare, and Home Health Compare websites on Medicare.gov. The Compare sites are the official CMS source for information about the quality of health care providers, and the star rating system is just one of many ways we’re working to make quality information easier to understand and compare. These ratings are based on established scientific standards of rigor and accuracy. Our Nursing Home Compare site already uses star ratings to help consumers compare nursing homes and choose one based on quality. Physician Compare has just started to include star ratings in certain situations for physician group practices.
While consumers are the main audience for the Compare sites, stakeholders and partners can visit Data.Medicare.gov and use the same data that power the Compare websites in easy-to-use formats. We’re excited to make this available so that you can use the same set of authoritative data in your work. CMS is committed to providing useful and current quality performance data. The star ratings empower consumers with information to make more informed health care decisions, encourage providers to strive for higher levels of quality, and drive overall health system improvement.