Hospital Association praises feds’ delay on new ratings system

The Wisconsin Hospital Association is praising a move from the feds to delay a new hospital ratings system that was set to kick off today.

The WHA, along with four in the state’s congressional delegation, had pushed the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to hold off on the new ratings.

CMS is looking to slim down 62 quality measures CMS uses into a five-star system, which opponents said might be unfair to hospitals that have more low-income patients or treat those with more chronic conditions.

But the agency said it’s delaying that move until July and will work with stakeholders to provide more guidance.

WHA spokeswoman Mary Kay Grasmick said the association is “pleased CMS heeded these concerns.”

“It is critically important that the information shared with consumers is based on sound methodology that accurately and fairly reflects the quality of the facility that is being reported,” Grasmick said. “WHA is pleased that CMS is accepting continued feedback and questions about the star ratings methodology.”

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Reps. Ron Kind, Sean Duffy and Mark Pocan signed onto a letter asking CMS to delay the move.

Baldwin, D-Madison, says while she supports quality reporting measures, they need to “accurately take into account” hospitals that serve populations more likely to be unhealthy.

“It is welcome news that CMS is hearing these concerns and taking the time to get the ratings system right by working more closely with hospitals and associations,” Baldwin said.

— By Polo Rocha,