The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has shelved a plan not to publish hospital safety ratings. According to reports by the Philadelphia Inquirer and MedPage Today, the CMS proposed earlier this year that it stop publicly releasing the PSI 90, a safety score composed of the hospital’s rates of “10 preventable and potentially lethal in-hospital harms,” including the development of pressure ulcers and postoperative sepsis. A final rule released by the agency earlier this month provided for the publication of that data.
As the Inquirer notes, the logic behind the CMS’s initial plan was that “the COVID-19 pandemic had skewed the rates of preventable surgical complications… and that publicizing these figures was unfair to hospitals.” Its decision to change that plan came after the agency heated criticism from patient advocacy groups. Per Med Page Today, “large employer coalitions and consumer advocates” expressed their displeasure with the plan, with one policy expert saying “clinicians as well as purchasers and policymakers will be unable to identify and help patients choose those hospitals with the best patient safety record” if it went through.
James Gelfand, a representative for a trade group of self-insured employers, meanwhile, argued that the plan would prevent patients from being able to make informed decisions simply to protect hospitals. “I can’t express to you how alarming that is,” he told Med Page Today.
In a news release about the CMS’s final rule, The Leapfrog Group, which publishes hospital safety data, commended the agency’s decision. “In their discussion of the final rule, we were gratified to hear CMS reinforce their longstanding commitment to transparency and patient safety,” it said. “We thank CMS for their leadership—for listening to and championing patients and families, patient safety advocates, employers, purchasers, clinicians, and all Americans who are deeply concerned about patient safety.”
For more information about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services final rule providing for the continued publication of hospital safety ratings known as PSI 90, visit The Leapfrog Group, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Med Page Today.
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