CMS Updates Hospital Results for Consumers

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) updated hospital performance results on its consumer-oriented Hospital Compare website (www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/search.html).

One of CMS’s goals is to improve health care for patients. CMS evaluates hospital quality of care and gives incentives to hospitals to make improvements that can impact patients’ wellbeing. One way CMS does this is by publicly reporting patient outcomes, like death during or shortly after a hospitalization, unplanned readmissions, or complications after elective surgery. CMS reports these outcomes for patients who are admitted to the hospital for a heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stroke, coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery, and for total elective hip and knee replacement. CMS also reports several payment measures, and a “hospital-wide” measure for Medicare patients that have to be unexpectedly re-admitted to a hospital shortly after they have been discharged.

Hospital Compare is CMS’s consumer-oriented website that offers a side-by-side comparison of hospital results for any three hospitals in the country. Results are updated yearly, along with introducing patients to new measures that impact their care. Patients and care-givers can use this website to see how particular hospitals perform when measuring death, unplanned readmission, or complication rates following a hospital stay. For example, consumers can identify how hospitals in their area compare to each other, and to the national average, on readmission rates for patients treated for COPD.

This year, CMS has a total of three payment measures in their “Payment and value of care” section, for patients who have suffered from heart failure, heart attack, or pneumonia. The payment measures add up the payments for care starting the day the patient enters the hospital and continuing for the next 30 days. This can include payments to the hospital, doctor’s office, skilled nursing facility, hospice, as well as patient co-pays made during this time. Payments can be from Medicare, other health insurers, or the patients themselves. Looking at how payments vary is one way to see differences in how hospitals and other healthcare providers care for patients.

The payment measures also help consumers assess the value of care at a particular hospital when considered alongside outcome measures, such as death within 30 days after a hospital stay for heart attack, heart failure, or pneumonia.

Be sure to visit Hospital Compare to see your hospital’s results on these important outcome measures!