To help consumers better differentiate between home health agencies when it comes to quality of patient care, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Thursday for the first time published star ratings for these agencies on its Home Health Compare website.

According to CMS, each home health agency receives a single summary Quality of Patient Care Star Rating based on their relative performance on 9 of the 29 quality measures posted on Home Health Compare. The measures are calculated using information from patient assessments performed by the home health agency and from submitted Medicare claims.

CMS said the star ratings will be updated quarterly as more current data become available.  In addition, the agency plans to introduce additional star ratings in January 2016 based on a patient experience of care survey—the Home Health Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems.

Home Health Compare is the latest CMS healthcare transparency website to be launched, making it the sixth star rating system that has been added to Medicare.gov by the Obama administration.

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“Adding star ratings to Home Health Compare is another step forward in our continuing efforts to empower consumers by providing more information to help them make healthcare decisions, while also encouraging providers to strive for higher levels of quality,” said Patrick Conway, M.D., acting principal deputy administrator for CMS and deputy administrator for innovation and quality.

Additional information about the Home Health Quality of Patient Care Star Ratings can be found here.

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