DID CMS ADEQUATELY COLLABORATE WITH STAKEHOLDERS BEFORE LAUNCHING DIALYSIS STAR RATINGS?

At least two groups representing the dialysis community don’t seem to think so. Kidney Care Partners (KCP), which represents patient advocates, dialysis professionals, care providers and product manufacturers, and Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC), an advocacy group for people needing dialysis treatment, separately criticized the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for ignoring their input on star ratings on its Dialysis Facility Compare (DFC) website.

The CMS Jan. 22 added the star-rating system to the DFC, according to an agency statement. The Dialysis Facility Compare rating system provides a rating of one to five stars to a dialysis facility based on nine quality measures, the statement said. Also in the statement, the CMS said the star ratings summarize dialysis facilities' performance data and “spotlight excellence in health care quality.”

Provider groups quickly reacted harshly to the addition of the star ratings to the DFC website and said the CMS failed to adequately collaborate with them. In a Jan. 22 statement sent to Bloomberg BNA, KCP said it had previously provided recommendations to the agency to eliminate distortions in the star ratings. However, those recommendations weren’t implemented when the CMS added the star ratings to the DFC website, KCP said.

Similarly, the DPC Jan. 22 said in a statement the CMS didn't include promised information on the website. “We are also extremely disappointed that CMS appears to have reneged on an important promise it made last October, to inform Dialysis Facility Compare visitors that ‘a one-star rating does not mean you will receive poor care from a facility,” the DPC said. According to the group, “this essential language” can't be located anywhere on the DFC website.

Take a free trial to the Health Law Resource Center to receive industry-leading health law news and analysis.