While I may not know much about history or biology, as the famous Sam Cooke song goes, I now feel like an expert on the Medicare agency’s hospital star ratings after I recently took an in-depth look at the system.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this summer posted new star ratings on its Hospital Compare website, which the agency designed to show a facility’s overall quality. A special report on the system I wrote with my colleague Madi Alexander found relationships between a hospital's star rating and the demographic makeup of the facility's location.
We analyzed Medicare ratings data for hospitals and U.S. Census data for our report. The analysis showed that across the nation, hospitals with lower ratings are more likely to be located in counties with larger minority populations. Our analysis also found that in nine states, hospitals with low star ratings are significantly more likely to be located in counties with lower household median income.
Hospital industry executives weren't surprised that low star ratings correlated with serving larger minority populations and lower household incomes. Several of them told me the analysis highlights the need for the CMS to adjust the star ratings to account for patients' socioeconomic status.
In addition, the data the CMS used for the ratings tended to reward small hospitals with more stars, while large facilities that treat the most ill patients and offer more services generally scored lower, industry executives told me. Reporting on the system also unveiled industry concerns that the CMS may one day tie a hospital’s star rating to Medicare payment, a claim the agency denied.
What I included in this blog post only captures the highlights from our special report. Read the whole story to get all the details.
Stay on top of new developments in health law and regulation with a free trial to the Health Law Resource Center.
Learn more about Bloomberg Law and sign up for a free trial.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)