By Dr. Patrick Conway, CMS Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality and Chief Medical Officer
Consumers have many options when choosing a health care provider. Providers vary in the quality of the care they give, and everyone wants to choose the provider who will be best for themselves or their loved ones. Yet frequently the choice must be made quickly and without the time for consumers to locate and review a wide range of information sources.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has established the Compare sites on Medicare.gov as the official CMS source for information about the quality of health care providers so that consumers have a single, easy-to-access source of information to support their decision-making.
Yet sometimes even the information on the Compare sites can seem like “too much of a good thing” – too much information, too many measures to consider. Therefore, CMS has been adding new tools to the Compare sites in order to make the information there easier to use. These include “star” ratings, similar to the ratings that consumers can review on websites for other products and services, which summarize the detailed information on health care provider quality that the sites already offer and make it more accessible to consumers.
We plan to add star ratings to Home Health Compare as early as the summer of 2015. None of the current information on the site will be removed; rather, the star ratings are intended to be an additional tool to support consumers’ health care decision-making. Over the coming months, we will be sharing the details of our proposed method for calculating the star ratings and soliciting input from consumers, home health providers, and other stakeholders, so that we can make the Home Health Compare star ratings as reliable and useful as possible.
We are excited to be expanding our support for home health care consumers, and we hope that the data will lead to continuing improvement in the quality and efficiency of the services that are provided to our beneficiaries.