Nevin Manimala Statistics

Calculation of Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings With and Without Inclusion of the Peer Grouping Step

JAMA Netw Open. 2024 May 1;7(5):e2411933. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.11933.


IMPORTANCE: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Overall Star Rating is widely used by patients and consumers, and there is continued stakeholder curiosity surrounding the inclusion of a peer grouping step, implemented to the 2021 Overall Star Rating methods.

OBJECTIVE: To calculate hospital star rating scores with and without the peer grouping step, with the former approach stratifying hospitals into 3-, 4-, and 5-measure group peer groups based on the number of measure groups with at least 3 reported measures.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This cross-sectional study used Care Compare website data from January 2023 for 3076 hospitals that received a star rating in 2023. Data were analyzed from April 2023 to December 2023.

EXPOSURE: Peer grouping vs no peer grouping.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary outcome was the distribution of star ratings, with 1 star being the lowest-performing hospitals and 5 stars, the highest. Analyses additionally identified the number of hospitals with a higher, lower, or identical star rating with the use of the peer grouping step compared with its nonuse, stratified by certain hospital characteristics.

RESULTS: Among 3076 hospitals that received a star rating in 2023, most were nonspecialty (1994 hospitals [64.8%]), nonteaching (1807 hospitals [58.7%]), non-safety net (2326 hospitals [75.6%]), non-critical access (2826 hospitals [91.9%]) hospitals with fewer than 200 beds (1822 hospitals [59.2%]) and located in an urban geographic designations (1935 hospitals [62.9%]). The presence of the peer grouping step resulted in 585 hospitals (19.0%) being assigned a different star rating than if the peer grouping step was absent, including considerably more hospitals receiving a higher star rating (517 hospitals) rather than a lower (68 hospitals) star rating. Hospital characteristics associated with a higher star rating included urbanicity (351 hospitals [67.9%]), non-safety net status (414 hospitals [80.1%]), and fewer than 200 beds (287 hospitals [55.6%]). Collectively, the presence of the peer grouping step supports a like-to-like comparison among hospitals and supports the ability of patients to assess overall hospital quality.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this cross-sectional study, inclusion of the peer grouping in the CMS star rating method resulted in modest changes in hospital star ratings compared with application of the method without peer grouping. Given improvement in face validity and the close association between the current peer grouping approach and stakeholder needs for peer-comparison, the current CMS Overall Star Rating method allows for durable comparisons in hospital performance.

PMID:38753326 | DOI:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.11933

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