Recent Updates Give Home Health Agencies the Star Treatment
By Jackie Birmingham, RN, MS, vice president, emeritus, of clinical leadership, Curaspan.
The Affordable Care Act calls for provider quality to be publicly reported and widely shared. As a result, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) extended star ratings to home health agencies (HHAs) on Home Health Compare (HHC) in 2015 to provide home health care beneficiaries with a summary quality measure in an accessible format.
By supporting consumer choice and encouraging provider quality improvement, public reporting will remain a pillar for improving healthcare quality. Currently, CMS reports 27 process, outcome and patient experience of care quality measures on the HHC website to equip patients and their families with the right tools to make choices about home healthcare.
Calculating the Two Types of Star Ratings
1) The Quality of Patient Care Star Rating – This rating probes nine specific evidence-based process and outcomes measures for each home health agency such as timely initiation of care, improvement in patients’ functional status and hospital readmissions. The measures are calculated into a composite score and star rating, which are typically calculated on a quarterly basis and include:
- CMS rankings of all HHA providers reporting which is then divided into 10 ranked deciles for each measure.
- Each HHA receives a score (.5 to 5) based on its ranked decile.
- Each score is compared to a national agency average on that measure, and if there is a statistical difference, the score will be adjusted.
- For each agency, adjusted scores are averaged to reach a composite score which are then translated into stars.
2) Patient Survey Star Ratings –These ratings incorporate the patient experience of care measures based on Home Health Care Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HHCAHPS). These surveys reflect patients’ views on a variety of issues including whether the staff checked patients’ prescriptions for side-effects and properly explained dosing instructions.