New CMS hospital rating system shows Michigan in need of more safety

Only four Michigan hospitals receive five-stars

August 15, 2016 The Economic Alliance for Michigan (EAM) applauds the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recent release of the five-star rating system of hospital safety and quality on their Hospital Compare website. The new rating system is based on sixty-four measurements. Key measures include readmission rates, overuse of diagnostic tests, post-surgical infection rates, complication rates after surgery and length of emergency department waits.

Hospital transparency is vital for improving patient safety and quality of care. Preventable medical errors cause more deaths annually in the United States than breast cancer, vehicle accidents or drug overdose. According to the British Medical Journal, it is the number three killer, responsible for an estimated 251,454 deaths in the U.S. in 2013.

The CMS star-ratings are significant because it is a government website issuing the data. Previously, various nonprofit and private organizations took the lead in conducting hospital safety reports and surveys. For example, twice a year, The Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Safety Score assigns grades for patient safety to hospitals throughout the United States. Patients can use these reports to educate themselves on which hospitals are safer.

In a Forbes expert opinion piece, Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group wrote, “It is difficult to overstate the leadership and political courage involved in this move. Though you would think healthcare transparency would be one of the few issues with bipartisan support in Washington, in fact, Congress tried to suppress the release of these star ratings.”

Key highlights from the CMS ratings for Michigan hospitals:

  • Only 4 out of the 111 Michigan hospitals reported by CMS received five-stars: Holland Community Hospital in Holland, McLaren Northern Michigan in Petoskey, Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall, and St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea Hospital in Chelsea.
  • Thirty-nine Michigan hospitals received a four-star rating.
  • 61% of Michigan hospitals received three-stars or less: 41 received three-stars, 23 received two-stars and 4 received one-star.

“The CMS ratings are an eye-opener for Michigan residents and serves as a wake-up call to politicians for increase measures in hospital transparency,” said Bret Jackson, president of EAM. “An estimated 78 percent of hospital medical mistakes are externally billed to patients, employers and the government. Increased patient safety will save millions in health care costs.”

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