Cover story highlights flaws in CMS’ star-rating system
The March 19 cover story “Not Aligned” (p. 8) underscores the significant and ongoing problems with the CMS’ star-rating system for hospitals.
In late 2016, during the closing days of the presidential campaign, it occurred to me that presidential debate planners must take into consideration access to emergency health services around debate sites. After all, presidential debates are high pressure, and both candidates were among the oldest nominees in the history of their parties.
The first debate was held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Sept. 26, 2016. A 20-mile radius of the debate stage included 40 hospitals—among them some of the most prestigious major medical centers in New York City. However, these hospitals’ combined average star rating at that time was less than 1.5. The nearest fivestar hospital was 22 miles away—the Hospital for Special Surgery.
It stands to reason that debate planners wouldn’t have bypassed these lower-rated institutions.
Dr. Catherine MacLean, chief value medical officer at the Hospital for Special Surgery, explained the disconnect in the March 19 story, saying, “We don’t think it’s a very good rating system … you are comparing apples to oranges.”
The CMS should listen. The public is poorly served by the five-star system.
Mat Reidhead Vice president of research and analytics Missouri Hospital Association