News Feature | January 1, 2015

CMS Releases Quality Of Care Data

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Data Analytics

The performance data is designed to aid in the selection of appropriate healthcare providers.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released data on the quality of care provided by physician group practices, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), and hospitals, according to a CMS blog post, The data are accessible via Physician Compare, Hospital Compare and

The new performance information is designed to provide patients and families additional information to help inform their selection of an appropriate healthcare provider. The data on these websites not only empower consumers with relevant information for making health care decisions, but also encourage providers to strive for higher levels of quality, and drive overall health system improvement.

The new data includes information regarding hospital value-based purchasing program, payment adjustments, updated performance results on diabetes and cardiovascular care by a limited list of physician group practices and ACOs, and Hospital performance results on Hospital-Acquired Conditions (HACs) such as central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter associated urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers, and accidental punctures or lacerations.

According to the blog, The Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program rates hospitals’ performance along a number of important quality indicators of patient care, quality, efficiency, and well-being, and is an initiative designed to pay for quality instead of quantity. The program, created by the ACA, ties a portion of payments to hospitals’ performance on certain quality measures such as death within 30 days after a heart attack and patient experience of care.

The data suggests that hospitals are improving care and outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries. More information on the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing program payment adjustments can be found here.

CMS has also posted the publicly reported 2013 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) Group Practice Reporting Option measures for the 139 group practices and 214 Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and 23 Pioneer ACOs.

The HAC Reduction Program uses public reporting and financial incentives to encourage hospitals that treat Medicare beneficiaries to reduce HACs and improve patient safety. Recently, Medicare announced that it is reducing payments to 721 hospitals by 1 percent for having high rates of infections, according to Kaiser Health News, in an effort to reduce hospital-induced conditions even further. One out of every seven hospitals across the country will be hit with these reductions. The penalties will total an estimated $373 million.

To determine hospital performance under the HAC Reduction Program, CMS computes a Total HAC Score for each hospital. The higher a hospital’s Total HAC Score, the less well the hospital performed under the HAC Reduction Program.

More information on the HACs Reduction program and HAC scores can be found here.