Hospital quality ratings: Here’s another view, with hospital-by-hospital search

Summary: Quality ratings are hard to come by in the health-care marketplace, and the ones that exist tend to come to very different conclusions. But there’s a new set of quality ratings, imposed by the government, in an attempt to tie performance to pay by penalizing hospitals for complications and conditions acquired in the hospital. Jordan Rau from Kaiser Health News has the story, and there’s a spreadsheet that will let you search for your hospital.

 

 


“A quarter of the nation’s hospitals – those with the worst rates – will lose 1 percent of every Medicare payment for a year starting in October,” as a result of the new ratings, Rau wrote on Kaiser Health News. “In April, federal officials released a preliminary analysis of which hospitals would be assessed, identifying 761. When Medicare sets final penalties later this year, that list may change because the government will be looking at performance over a longer period than it used to calculate the draft penalties. …

“The sanctions, estimated to total $330 million over a year, kick in at a time when most infections measured in hospitals are on the decline, but still too common. In 2012, one out of every eight patients nationally suffered a potentially avoidable complication during a hospital stay, the government estimates….

“Medicare’s penalties are going to hit some types of hospitals harder than others, according to an analysis of the preliminary penalties conducted for Kaiser Health News by Dr. Ashish Jha, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. Publicly owned hospitals and those that treat large portions of low-income patients are more likely to be assessed penalties. So are large hospitals, hospitals in cities and those in the West and Northeast. Preliminary penalties were assigned to more than a third of hospitals in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming, Medicare records show.”

The full, searchable spreadsheet can be downloaded from the page where Rau’s story resides.