The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released data on the quality of care provided by physician group practices, Accountable Care Organizations and hospitals.

Available on the Physician Compare, Hospital Compare and Medicare.gov websites, the data is meant to provide patients and families with additional information they can use to make better informed decisions when selecting a hospital or physician practice.

“Healthcare professionals differ in the quality and safety of care they provide and these websites empower consumers with information to help with healthcare decisions, encourage providers to strive for higher levels of quality, and drive overall health system improvement,” states Patrick Conway, M.D., chief medical officer and CMS deputy administrator for innovation and quality, in a recent blog.

These transparency tools—websites with health cost or quality information comparing different providers of healthcare services—are designed to improve the quality and affordability of healthcare. However, while CMS operates five transparency tools—Nursing Home Compare, Dialysis Facility Compare, Home Health Compare, Hospital Compare and Physician Compare, the value of the data to date has been limited.

For instance, the Government Accountability Office last month concluded that the tools lack relevant information on cost and provide limited information on key differences in quality of care, which hinders the ability of consumers to make meaningful distinctions among providers based on their performance.  

Nonetheless, the data just released by CMS includes: information on Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program 2015 payment adjustments; updated performance results on diabetes and cardiovascular care by some physician group practices and ACOs; and hospital performance results on Hospital-Acquired Conditions (HACs) such as central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter associated urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers and accidental punctures or lacerations.

To determine hospital performance under the HAC Reduction Program, CMS computes a Total HAC Score for each hospital. The higher a hospital’s Total HAC Score, the less well the hospital performed under the HAC Reduction Program. Beginning in FY 2015, the law requires a Medicare payment reduction of one percent for those hospitals that rank in the top quartile of Total HAC Scores.

More information on the HACs Reduction program and HAC scores can be found here.

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