New federal quality ratings for U.S. hospitals give St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy a three-star rating, which means that less than 38 percent of U.S. hospitals scored higher.
Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital in Hollister scored in the second-lowest category—with a two-star rating—which means that approximately 72 percent of U.S. hospitals had higher quality ratings.
The ratings of U.S. hospitals by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services place two of the three hospitals in the newly expanded Santa Clara County Health System in the lowest category—a one-star rating—which represents the bottom 7.5 percent of more than 3,725 hospitals.
The CMS updated its Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings in February, and gave Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and O’Connor Hospital in San Jose and 280 other U.S. hospitals the lowest quality rating.
“Even with recent methodology improvements, the star ratings suffer from underlying flaws that disproportionately disadvantage certain types of hospitals, such as public and large teaching hospitals,” wrote Santa Clara County in response. “Additionally, specific aspects of the star ratings methodology appear to disadvantage hospitals that serve large numbers of low-income and other vulnerable people. These scores do not accurately reflect the high-quality care received at our hospitals and clinics.”
CMS’ Hospital Compare website, www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare reports on quality measures for more than 3,725 hospitals nationwide.
The new star ratings come eight months after CMS postponed its July 2018 update for the second consecutive year due to methodology changes. The updated methodology includes removal of measures with statistically negative loadings and a change to how hospital-acquired infection measures are calculated. Childrens’ Hospitals and Veterans’ hospitals were not included in the rankings.
The federal agency gathers information about the quality of care at over 4,000 Medicare-certified hospitals, including over 130 Veterans Administration medical centers, across the country. Federal officials encourage medicare consumers to use the Hospital Compare website to find hospitals and compare the quality of their care.
“The County of Santa Clara Health System is committed to quality improvement through meaningful measures, transparency and accountability,” reads a statement from the county hospitals “Our hospitals are committed to providing access to safe, high-quality care for all people, including those who face financial and social hardships.”
The CMS ratings are based on data from answers to more than 135 questions, on patient care, hospital communications and payments, from patients and from hospital records 2015-17 in these areas:
- Safety of care
- Patient Experience
- Effectiveness of Care
- Timeliness of Care
- Efficient Use of Medical Imaging
The federal government website is managed and paid for by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The new ratings for other Bay Area hospitals include:
- Regional Medical Center of San Jose, one star
- Good Samaritan Hospital, Watsonville Community Hospital, two stars
- Dominican Hospital, Natividad Medical Center, three stars
- El Camino Hospital, Kaiser/ San Jose, Kaiser/Santa Clara, Stanford Health Care, four stars
- Community Hospital of Monterey, Sutter Maternity and Surgery, five stars.
Hospital Compare was created through the efforts of Medicare and the Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA). The HQA: Improving Care Through Information was created in December 2002. The HQA was a public-private collaboration established inDecember 2002 to promote reporting on hospital quality of care.