by Carmela Coyle
Here’s the issue: CMS’ star quality rankings for hospitals do not account for the unique way Maryland’s hospitals report data. Maryland’s hospitals operate under a more stringent quality program, but historically were not required to submit certain inpatient and outpatient data or present-on-admission codes to CMS until 2014. As a result, Maryland’s hospitals appear to lag on quality measures when in fact, the problem is that the playing field isn’t level. And with more national publications, like U.S. News & World Report, relying on CMS data for their own hospital rankings, the flawed rankings gain even greater exposure.
So, what are we doing to rectify the situation? MHA has submitted comments to CMS requesting that Maryland’s hospitals be exempt from the proposed star rating program until all data constituting the ratings contain the proper present-on-admission codes and, therefore, are appropriately comparable to hospitals in other states. We are also seeking a joint meeting with CMS and the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) to determine how to address the problem. HSCRC has also submitted comments to CMS echoing MHA’s concerns.