Feds to Publish Dialysis Center Ratings

Starting in January, the federal government will publish star ratings of dialysis facilities, in a similar fashion to the rankings now available on nursing homes and physicians. The ratings to be included on the Dialysis Facility Compare site, which is operated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), are based on 9 of eleven dialysis facility quality measures that are already publicly reported. These address such issues as mortality, hospitalization, and transfusion ratios, the adequacy of adult and pediatric hemodialysis, the percentage of patients with hypercalcemia and the percentage of adult dialysis patients receiving treatments via arteriovenous fistulas. The star ratings roll-out was delayed due to stakeholder concerns; the release scheduled for January will take place after a 15 day period that providers will have to review findings prior to public release. CMS says the star rating initiative will help consumers make better decisions, follows trend toward a more transparent health system, responds to calls for more quality performance information and provides more “consumer-centric content” in keeping with the Administration’s digital information strategy. To access the strategy, visitwww.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/egov/digital-government/digital-government.html.