Dialysis and Ratings

CMSRecently Medicare/CMS rolled out a 5-star rating system for dialysis centers.   There’s some controversy brewing because some providers are not in favor of this.

From the presentation that rolled it out…

We’ve also used stars in the Medicare Advantage website for some time now for both the health plans and the Part D prescription drug plan services.
And in 2014, earlier this year, in about February, Star Ratings were introduced on Physician Compare for large physician group practices of 100 or more as well as for
ACOs. And so expanding on this later this year, as Elena mentioned, for Dialysis Facility Compare, but also in December and January, for Home Health Compare and Hospital  Compare, we will be beginning our transition to Star Ratings across all of our sites. And I  might also mention that we anticipate in 2016, when we have quality measure  information on all of the health plans on the marketplace, we’ll also have Star Ratings for
quality measures there. And the reason we’ve decided to do this, as Elena said, we see this as an improvement
upon a lot of the work that has already happened over the last several years. And we  now from Nursing Home Compare, but also from our consumer testing that we’ve done extensively over the years, that consumers really feel like they can understand quality information better when it’s displayed in a Star Rating or other like rating system as
opposed to the way that we present information now, which I think is very useful, but maybe not as useful for consumers and other users of the site who might find a different type of display easier to understand.

Most of the controversy is because there was no official notice that CMS would do this but, as you can see from the presentation, CMS has done this with other providers and it’s been very successful.  There’s one article from a Davita doctor but it’s on a subscriber site so I can’t access it.   Here’s what I can read of it…

DaVita Lobbies Against Dialysis Star-Rating Program’s Bell Curve, Measures
Without public notice, CMS introduced a star-rating program for dialysis facilities that executives of the chain dialysis company DaVita said is misguided, and they are urging the agency to make major changes to the program, which takes effect in October.
Obviously, from that, Davita is not in favor of the idea.  However, I can’t get any reasons for why they are against it.   When I can I’ll post more about it.
Why is CMS doing this?  From the July 10th teleconference…

 Where did we get the directive to start reaching out even more to the consumer and making more information easily accessible and making it more transparent  and open? And it all actually comes back to the Affordable Care Act public reporting.  One of the things that people may be aware of (or this may be new information for individuals) is that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) goes forward stating that we need to expand quality measurement. We need to develop good measures, we need to be able to share those measures, and then we need to expand public reporting and make it easily accessible to the individuals who access our care and also to those individuals who are our invested partners that are important to the work that CMS does. And the biggest thing is that the ACA called for easy format so that individuals from any walk of life would be able to understand what they’re reading.

Plainly, this is about making information available to patients in a clear and simple manner so that we can make some basic decisions about dialysis providers and easily compare them.  In order to do this, CMS is using a very familiar method; the 5-star method.

More to come…

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About DevonTexas

I am a person with ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) which means my kidneys don't work. Forty or so years ago that would have been a death sentence but today there is Dialysis which means I can be hooked up to a machine that will clean my blood as the kidneys should. Three days a week, I go to a center and have too very large needles stuck in my arm to remove and replace my blood as it passes through a process where it's cleaned and the fluid is removed, a process taking a little over four hours each time. I want to advance knowledge about dialysis so that other patients can learn from my experience and mistakes. We shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel, eh? There is so much to be learned and experienced about our predicament. There are vast resources available to support us and enrich our lives but many patients don't know about them. There are also many issues that we have to deal with whether we want to or not. So I blog about them. All comments are confidential until I approve them. If you don't want your comment public, let me know and I will respect that. So, feel free to leave a comment. Enjoy.
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