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New CMS rating system faces criticism for methodology

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New CMS rating system faces criticism for methodology

January 28, 2015 at 8:51 AM

Denton_45_story.jpgThis month the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) added a Five-Star Quality Rating System to the Medicare Dialysis Facility Compare (DFC) website. The new rating system has been severely criticized by dialysis providers and patient advocacy groups. Dialysis Facility Compare was originally launched in 2001 to help consumers, their families, and caregivers compare dialysis units more easily. DFC provides general information about dialysis clinics, best clinical practices, hospitalizations and deaths.

"Studies of DFC indicate that many patients and their families find it difficult to understand the descriptions of quality measures. I have been told that the DFC website is accessed more often by dialysis providers than dialysis patients," said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Aronoff.

Keyser_story.jpgDespite criticisms of the methodology used in assigning ratings, we still congratulate the RVM facilities with high rankings.  Two units received five-star rankings and five units received four-star rankings.  At the same time, units that have received one- and two-star ratings shouldn't be discouraged, but use the data as an opportunity  to try to understand how the data that CMS used might have fallen short and how they might improve their patients' care and dialysis experience.

"CMS has chosen to use data that were collected for far different purposes than to compare the quality of care among dialysis clinics. Many of these measures have little impact on patients' lives or their experience of care in a dialysis clinic," said Dr. Aronoff.

View more articles on the CMS rating system at Nephrology News & Issues

- Read more from Dr. Aronoff about the CMS rating system and his thoughts about what measurements would be more meaningful in a rating system.

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