CMS Delays Star Rating System For Dialysis Centers Until 2015

Published by Bloomberg BNA
Michael D. Williamson
September 10, 2014

The CMS Sept. 10 announced a three-month delay—until January—of a planned star rating system for dialysis centers.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services first announced the dialysis facilities star rating system in a June 18 blog post. According to the post, “Later this year and early in 2015, we’re adding a star rating system to the Hospital Compare, Dialysis Facility Compare [DFC], and Home Health Compare websites on Medicare.gov. The Compare sites are the official CMS source for information about the quality of health care providers, and the star rating system is just one of many ways we’re working to make quality information easier to understand and compare.”

The blog post said CMS would begin implementing the dialysis center rating system in October.
Several stakeholders, including the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, expressed frustration at the way the CMS announced the rating system and called for a delay in its implementation (162 HCDR, 8/21/14).

Feedback Prompts Change

The CMS said it delayed implementing the rating system based on stakeholder feedback and “to allow more time for consumer education about appropriate use of the ratings for making decisions about treatment.”

In addition, the CMS said, “Implementing the Star Rating system for dialysis facilities in January will also give dialysis facilities extra time to review their ratings and fine tune verification and correction processes for data submission to DFC.”

Outreach Planned

The announcement also said the CMS will provide three types of “consumer education opportunities” before launching the DFC rating system. The educational programs will include:

  • an Open Door Forum that will provide background on the Compare website star rating initiative, the development of star ratings for DFC, the difference between star ratings and the Quality Incentive Program and the strengths and limitations of star ratings in making treatment decisions;
  • consumer group informational sessions that will provide ready-to-use information on how to use the stars to inform treatment decisions, including the strengths and limitations of stars; and
  • direct consumer outreach, including through newspapers, the Internet and other sources.

The CMS provided no information about when it will hold the educational programs or how to receive more information about them.

See the original article here.