Federal Government Program Ratings Help Consumers Decide
Which Hospital is Best for Their Health Care
Sometimes, there's no time to waste when seeking hospital care. But in situations that aren't dire emergencies, how can consumers select the hospital that delivers the best care?
That's exactly how the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) Five-Star Quality Rating System came to be. Similar to how restaurant reviews work, the rating system gives patients a voice in assessing their health care - and keeps hospitals accountable.
Star ratings became part of the healthcare environment after the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. CMS, the federal agency that runs Medicare, looks at seven categories when rating the nation's 4,784 hospitals nationwide that administer the program.
Of those, just 293 - 6.5% - scored five stars. Of the rest:
Four stars: 24% (1,086 hospitals)
Three stars: 28% (1,264 hospitals)
Two stars: 17% (800 hospitals)
One star: 6% (282 hospitals)
CMS utilizes two types of star ratings:
Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Summary Star Rating: Based solely on patient survey scores
Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating: A combination of outcomes measures and patient experience scores
Ratings range from one to five stars, with five stars being the best. Hospitals that administer Medicare are surveyed, with different measures being weighted differently. Data are reported to CMS on the following:
Mortality (heavily weighted)
Readmission (heavily weighted)
Safety of care (heavily weighted)
Patient experience (heavily weighted)
Efficient use of medical imaging
Timeliness of care
Effectiveness of care
The HCAHPS survey seeks patient feedback about communication with nurses, the responsiveness of the hospital staff, communication with doctors, pain management and the cleanliness of the hospital environment.
The Hospital Compare overall rating looks at a variety of measures when reviewing common conditions that hospitals treat, such as heart attacks and pneumonia, and compares each hospital's performance to others' nationwide. Along with the rating, Hospital Compare also offers insight into each facility's rates of infection and complications.
In the most recent reporting period, nine hospitals in Florida received five stars - and Health First's Viera Hospital was the only one in Central Florida to score that honor. The distinction is an honor, and Health First is grateful to its customers for helping us strive to deliver the highest-quality, most compassionate care possible, right here in Brevard.
Debra Hooper of Merritt Island raved about her experience at the hospital, which has received five stars three times now.
"I have been to several other hospitals, and this is by far the best I've ever been to," Hooper said.
To learn more about choosing the hospital that's best for you and your loved ones and to compare ratings for other facilities in the area, visit Medicare.gov/HospitalCompare .