by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve realized that hospitals are being scrutinized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services like never before.
Care standards such as core measures are by now commonplace and improving Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems scores are keeping hospital executives up at night.
But for the first time this year hospitals in America who excelled in these areas were eligible for the coveted CMS five-star rating.
Community Hospital CEO Debbie Kearns, RN, recently learned her hospital received five stars.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Kearns said. “It reflects the hard work and commitment all of our team members have to providing safe, quality care.”
Community joins select company in Oklahoma with only Oklahoma Heart Hospital, McBride Orthopedic Hospital and Oklahoma Surgical Hospital in Tulsa earning five-star status.
“Community Hospital is committed to providing safe, quality care for every patient,” Kearns said. “Our physicians, nurses and other clinicians are committed to continually improve care. We appreciate the trust patients continue to place in our ability to meet the highest standards of care and are pleased that Community Hospital has achieved the top rating of five stars.
“The five-star rating is a direct reflection of the hard work and dedication of our team members and shows their true commitment to providing our patients with the best experience possible.
Our work doesn’t stop with this ranking, instead it serves to reinforce our mission of becoming the premier hospital in the country specializing in surgical care.”
The Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating is designed to help individuals, their family members, and caregivers compare hospitals in an easily understandable way. Over the past decade, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published information about the quality of care across the five different health care settings that most families encounter.
The new Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating summarizes data from existing quality measures publicly reported on Hospital Compare into a single star rating for each hospital, making it easier for consumers to compare hospitals and interpret complex quality information.
The methodology for the new Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating was developed with significant input from a Technical Expert Panel (TEP) and refined after public input.
CMS will continue to analyze the star rating data and consider public feedback to make enhancements to the scoring methodology as needed. The star rating will be updated quarterly, and will incorporate new measures as they are publicly reported on the website as well as remove measures retired from the quality reporting programs.
For Kearns and her hospital, which includes a new campus in North Oklahoma City, the five-star ranking was validation of what she sees every day.
“Our culture in our organization is one of hiring the best staff, the best team and to have the best group of doctors,” Kearns said. “Our goal of being a premier surgical hospital, if you don’t continue to maintain those quality initiatives and focus on the customers you can’t maintain that rating.”
Kearns has been notified that Community will receive the quarterly five-star rating again for the next quarter.
“Every employee has to be committed to providing that five-star experience for our customers,” Kearns said. “We don’t have any opportunities to sit back and provide less than an exceptional experience. When we hire employees we set that expectation and raise that bar really high.”
CMS collects the information on these measures through the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program and Hospital Outpatient Quality Reporting (OQR) Program.
Hospitals are only assessed on the measures for which they submit data. Some of the measures used to calculate the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating are based only on data from Medicare beneficiaries and some are based on data from hospitals’ general patient population, regardless of payer.
“Today, we are taking a step forward in our commitment to transparency by releasing the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating,” CMS said in a statement. “We have been posting star ratings for different facilities for a decade and have found that publicly available data drives improvement, better reporting, and more open access to quality information for our Medicare beneficiaries.
“These star rating programs are part of the Administration’s Open Data Initiative which aims to make government data freely available and useful while ensuring privacy, confidentiality, and security.”