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CMS Delays Hospital Star Ratings System Announcement

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will push back the public release of a new hospital star ratings system until July.

The agency shifted the timeline for the system’s release after increased pressure to do so from lawmakers and providers. Now, CMS will update the measure data on May 4, which will include the release of new measures for the Inpatient Psychiatric Program and Ambulatory Surgical Centers, and will push back the preview period for Hospital compare information to May 6, before publicly releasing the data in July, according to a Congressional memo from the agency that was shared with Morning Consult by a congressional aide.

CMS said that when collecting feedback from stakeholders, it heard about specific concerns about some calculations. The agency scheduled a call with providers to answer questions about the ratings system.

Lawmakers sent letters to CMS earlier this month urging the delay of the ratings system. Sixty senators and 225 House members signed on.

“The Hospital Compare Star Ratings are meant to help inform consumers’ health and wellness decisions, so we need to make sure that they are reflective of an institution’s true quality,” Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), who co-led the House letter, said in a statement. “We appreciate that CMS listened to our calls to delay the release of the ratings and will continue to consider feedback from stakeholders.

The American Hospital Association also praised the decision to delay the release of the quality ratings.

“The delay is a necessary step as hospitals and health systems work with CMS to improve the ratings for patients, and the AHA commends CMS for their decision,” Rick Pollack, the group’s president and CEO said in a statement. “Health care consumers need reliable, factual information to make critical care decisions.”