Federal ratings of NJ hospitals spurs speculation on accuracy and reliability.
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, responded to the federal ratings for hospitals across the United States."Today, CMS released Hospital Compare Star Ratings. While I believe that the Star Ratings are an important tool for consumers to be armed with information about the hospitals in which they receive care, it is imperative that these ratings are accurate. In April 2016, I led a bipartisan letter with Congressman Jim Renacci to Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt calling for a delay of the release of the Star Ratings because of concerns about the methodology used to determine them. I was glad that CMS agreed to this delay; however, with today's release, I continue to have concerns about the accuracy of the methodology. I have been having conversations with CMS about how to make sure the ratings are an accurate reflection of a hospital's true quality and will continue to do that."
Many New Jersey hospitals and residents were startled by the results. Hospitals are rated similarly as hotels; on a five star scale, if the establishment earns a higher number of stars, the overall rating for the hospital is higher. Strangely, no hospitals in New Jersey earned a five star rating. The hospitals were rated based on a variety of 64 different factors including "patient deaths, readmissions, and the use of medical imaging"; however, the ratings did not account for the "social and economic mix" of patients, and contemporary sources of medication such as treatments for cancer.
Since the ratings left out imperative and influential factors, they may stand as unfair or even inaccurate. Hospitals that are reverent and renowned by other groups and organizations have received poor ratings; this has raised numerous eyebrows not only in the public but also in health organizations such as the New Jersey Hospital Association.