HCAHPS Five Star Rating Image | Orange Stars


In April of 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will debut Star Ratings at the Hospital Compare website. Like hotel, restaurant, and other star-based rating systems based on consumer input, hospital stars are designed to be easily understood at a glance. The more stars the better, with a five star rating representing the best of the best in terms of patient satisfaction.

But before the new system debuts to the public, hospitals are able to get a sneak peak at their scores in their official December 2014 CMS Preview Report. Any hospital that is HCAHPS eligible will also be eligible for Star Ratings. Hospitals must also have at least 100 completed HCAHPS surveys to receive Star Ratings.

Here’s how Star Rating scores are calculated:

The first round will be based on HCAHPS information from patients discharged between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014. Star Ratings will be updated with each public reporting cycle.

Each hospital will have 12 Star Ratings in total. The first 11 correspond to each individual HCAHPS measures (shown here with their corresponding HCAHPS survey questions):

  1. Communication with nurses (Q1, Q2, Q3)
  1. Communication with doctors (Q5, Q6, Q7)
  1. Responsiveness of hospital staff (Q4, Q11)
  1. Pain management (Q13, Q14)
  1. Communication about medicines (Q16, Q17)
  1. Discharge information (Q19, Q20)
  1. Care transition (Q23, Q24, Q25)
  1. Cleanliness of hospital environment (Q8)
  1. Quietness of hospital environment (Q9)
  1. Overall hospital rating (Q21)
  1. Recommend the hospital (Q22)

In addition to the 11 star ratings listed above, there will be a new Summary Star rating that averages the measures across the HCAHPS survey. The CMS website has more details on how the Summary Star is calculated.

Star Ratings are not designed to replace any HCAHPS information already available to consumers; they are an additional tool for comparing hospital performance. The percentage ratings for each HCAHPS quality measure that are currently available on the Hospital Compare website will remain, as will the state and national average ratings.

And while Star Ratings will not be used in calculating your hospital’s value-based purchasing payments, their public debut in April and the resulting media attention may have a big impact on your hospital’s marketing efforts. If your hospital is making efforts to continuously improve HCAHPS scores, it will become more attractive to consumers seeking a “five star” experience in healthcare.