Middlebury–The federal government released its first overall hospital quality rating last week, similar to the long-standing 5-Star CMS rating used for nursing homes. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) based the star ratings on 64 individual measures that are published on its Hospital Compare website. The number of stars each hospital receives depends on how well the hospital performed on these 64 which include death rates, readmissions, safety indicators, and patient satisfaction scores. According to CMS, the goal of this rating system is to offer consumers a simpler measure of hospital quality than the full listing of more than 100 separate measures reported by the government.
In Vermont, no hospital achieved a five star rating, and only Porter Hospital, Central Vermont Hospital and Brattleboro Memorial Hospital achieved four-star ratings. The remaining Vermont hospitals earned either a two or three star rating, or were not rated.
Dr. Kate Goodrich, who oversees Medicare’s quality ratings, said in a statement that it has been using the same type of rating system for other medical facilities, such as nursing homes and dialysis centers, and found them useful to consumers and patients. Those ratings have shown, she said, “that publicly available data drives improvement, better reporting, and more open access to quality information for our Medicare beneficiaries.”
“Today, we are taking a step forward in our commitment to transparency by releasing the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating,” Goodrich said.
“Consumers can use this trustworthy program to compare hospitals side by side,” said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, a Washington nonprofit. “This is a huge step forward.”
Just 102 hospitals nation-wide received the top rating of five stars, and few are those considered as the nation’s best by private ratings sources such as U.S. News & World Report or viewed as the most elite within the medical profession.
Earlier this summer, Helen Porter Rehabilitation & Nursing Center was notified that it had earned a 5-Star CMS rating.
Hospital CMS Star Ratings in Vermont:
BRATTLEBORO MEMORIAL HOSPITAL BRATTLEBORO VT 4
CENTRAL VERMONT MEDICAL CENTER BARRE VT 4
COPLEY HOSPITAL MORRISVILLE VT 3
GIFFORD MEDICAL CENTER RANDOLPH VT 2
GRACE COTTAGE HOSPITAL TOWNSHEND VT Not Available
MT ASCUTNEY HOSPITAL WINDSOR VT Not Available
NORTH COUNTRY HOSPITAL AND HEALTH CENTER NEWPORT VT 3
NORTHEASTERN VERMONT REGIONAL HOSPITAL SAINT JOHNSBURY VT 3
NORTHWESTERN MEDICAL CENTER INC SAINT ALBANS VT 2
PORTER HOSPITAL, INC MIDDLEBURY VT 4
RUTLAND REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER RUTLAND VT 3
SPRINGFIELD HOSPITAL SPRINGFIELD VT 2
UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT MEDICAL CENTER BURLINGTON VT 3