Noteworthy News

Urban Hospitals Fare Poorly in Federal Hospital Ratings

Urban hospitals have lower scores than their non-urban counterparts in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Overall Hospital Star Ratings.

And a new report in JAMA Internal Medicine explains why.

An analysis of CMS’s latest hospital ratings examined conditions that make cities “stressed” – things like poverty, unemployment, high divorce rate, the health of residents, and more – and found that the higher a stress rating assigned to a city, the lower its hospitals rated in the CMS Hospital Star Ratings.

In seeking an explanation for this finding, the study suggested that

…the star rating component measures may be affected by community factors such as poor transportation or limited social support services through causal pathways other than hospital quality.

jama internal medicineThat finding echoes a long-time NAUH concern that a number of Medicare programs, including its hospital readmissions reduction program and its value-based purchasing program, are unfairly biased against private urban safety-net hospitals. For several years, for example, NAUH has been advocating adoption of a law requiring CMS to add a socio-economic risk component to its readmissions reduction program so that program will treat urban safety-net hospitals more fairly. Read NAUH’s most recent request that Congress adopt such legislation here and its most recent request that CMS add such a component readmissions reduction program here.

Learn more about this issue by viewing the article “Relationship Between Stress Rankings and the Overall Hospital Star Ratings: An Analysis of 150 Cities in the United States,” which can he found here, on the JAMA Internal Medicine web site.

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