CMS may eliminate hospital star-rating model for 2020 quality reporting
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CMS may eliminate hospital star-rating model for 2020 quality reporting

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it is considering stopping its use of the latent variable model (LVM) to assign hospitals star ratings, a sharp reversal from its defense of the model just seven months ago. In a nearly 50-page request for public input, the agency stated it may replace the LVM with “an explicit approach (such as an average of measure scores) to group score calculation.”

  • The LVM is a statistical model that emphasizes certain measures over others to determine star ratings
  • Previously, the LVM was criticized widely by hospitals groups, who blamed it for significant changes in star ratings from December 2017 to June 2018
  • CMS is considering assigning weights to each of the measures used to determine the ratings, rather than leaving it to a model

The announcement came after the agency recently released new ratings on the Hospital Compare website for the first time in nearly 15 months. The ratings mirrored those from previous years, with most hospitals receiving two, three or four stars. One of the few changes CMS made to the February star ratings involved weighing healthcare-associated infections more heavily.

CMS is also considering other changes to the star-rating system, such as releasing the ratings once per year and implementing a user-friendly tool for patients to determine how each measure is weighted.

For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly healthcare specialists can help, contact our team.

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