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Proposed Hospital Rating System Hits Roadblocks

Anyone who is familiar with online shopping is familiar with the “star” rating system. For example, a person shopping on Amazon.com or other popular shopping sites may decide to purchase an item (or forego another item) based on the number of “stars” others have given the particular product. In these contexts, “one star” denotes a product that has received a significant number of negative reviews whereas a product with a “five star” review denotes a product that has been well-received by consumers. This type of rating system is simple and familiar, so it would make sense to use this type of “star system” to help patients evaluate other things besides consumer products.

However, according to a Philly.com article, a recent effort to introduce a similar rating system for hospitals has hit a roadblock, thanks in part to lobbying efforts from the hospital industry.

Evaluating the Quality of Hospitals Can Be Confusing

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services planned to introduce a “star” rating system as a means of helping patients evaluate the quality of a hospital facility. Presently, hospitals are measured and rated according to a variety of criteria and factors: A hospital may be highly-rated in one area of measurement (such as number of doctors or beds) and rated poorly in another (if, for instance, the hospital lacks certain specialty equipment). The proposed rating system would give hospitals between one and five stars, depending on the overall quality of the facility. This was meant to help patients more easily evaluate the quality of hospitals.

However, the hospital industry opposed the rating system, claiming that the formula used to calculate the number of stars a facility would receive is skewed in that hospitals that serve poor patients or that treat difficult illnesses and conditions. According to the preliminary formula (which measured and evaluated over twenty different factors), only about 100 out of over 3,000 facilities would have received the highest rating of five stars. In addition, about 100 facilities would have received the lowest rating of one star, with the majority of the over 3,000 hospitals would have received three stars.

How Will Patients Evaluate Hospitals?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has indicated that it still intends to release its star rating system. Until that time, patients seeking care from a hospital may need to rely upon traditional rating metrics and systems from various groups and organizations to assist them in choosing the appropriate facility.

Of course, a medical error can occur at even a highly-rated hospital. When this occurs, the Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. can assist you in recovering compensation for your injuries and losses. We have been helping medical malpractice victims in New Jersey and Pennsylvania for over 40 years, and we use our knowledge and resources to help victims resolve their case in a timely manner. Contact us by phone or online and let us assist you after your medical malpractice injury

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