• CMS Announces Delay of New 5-Star Ratings System


    Announcing a notice from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announcing that they plan to implement the new 5-Star Ratings program in January 2015, rather than October 2014 as previously announced. Read below or click here to review the notice. CMS also announced that prior to launching the 5-Star Ratings program they will provide some educational opportunities including an Open Door Forum.

    NRAA sent Administrator Tavenner a letter expressing our views on the 5-Star Ratings program. President-elect Debbie Cote and Rich Meade from Prime Policy Group also met with senior officials from CMS about the 5-Star Ratings program. NRAA expects to receive a formal response from CMS to the letter that was sent to Administrator Tavenner.

    Implementation of Dialysis Facility Compare Star Rating System

    The Medicare Dialysis Facility Compare (DFC) website is a service of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that has become a major information resource for patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) on finding detailed information on Medicare-certified dialysis facilities. Originally launched in 2001 and mandated by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, DFC currently features 11 measures on approximately 6,000 Medicare-certified dialysis facilities. CMS plans to introduce star ratings on DFC as part of our plan to feature star ratings on all of our Compare websites to make it easier for consumers to compare and select dialysis facilities.

    CMS presented information on the Star Rating System for dialysis facilities to the public during a national provider call in July. We listened to feedback from stakeholders and encouraged them to submit written comments to CMS. In response to this feedback, CMS has decided to implement the Star Rating System for dialysis facilities in January 2015 to allow more time for consumer education about appropriate use of the ratings for making decisions about treatment. Implementing the Star Rating system for dialysis facilities in January will also give dialysis facilities extra time to review their ratings and fine tune verification and correction processes for data submission to DFC. Prior to launching the DFC Star Rating System, we will provide a variety of consumer educational activities, including:

    • An Open Door Forum that will provide background on the Compare website star rating initiative, the development of star ratings for DFC, the difference between star ratings and QIP, and the strengths and limitations of star ratings in making treatment decisions.
    • Consumer group informational sessions that will provide ready-to-use information on how to use the stars to inform treatment decisions, including the strengths and limitations of stars.
    • Direct consumer outreach to put information in the hands of consumers through the many ways they receive health care information, including newspapers, the internet, and other sources

    CMS is committed to working with stakeholders in implementing the star ratings for Dialysis Facility Compare. We will continue to partner with the ESRD community to ensure that consumers have information they can easily understand and use to make important health care decisions.