Medicare’s Hospital Compare adds star rating but fails to score with critics

From: Senior Journal

Editor’s note: New star rating system gets some hoarse criticism at Kaiser Health News

April 16, 2015 – Medicare’s Hospital Compare website may have added the star rating system today but the new service – well, even the earlier service – is not getting five stars from Jordan Rau of Kaiser Health News. His article published today is below. It is a “must read” for senior citizens planning on using the service to choose a hospital.

Only 251 Hospitals Score Five Stars in Medicare’s New Rating

By Jordan Rau, Kaiser Health News

In an effort to make comparing hospitals more like shopping for refrigerators and restaurants, the federal government has awarded its first star ratings to hospitals based on patients’ appraisals.

Many of the nation’s leading hospitals received middling ratings, while comparatively obscure local hospitals and others that specialized in lucrative surgeries frequently received the most stars.

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Jean Chenoweth, an executive at Truven Health Analytics, which also publishes its own list of top hospitals, said she feared hospital marketing departments would oversell the meaning of the stars.  “It would be very unfortunate and misleading if a hospital marketing department could claim to be a CMS five-star hospital and fail to mention it only reflected a patients’ perception of care,” she said.

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