Web Site Helps Patients
Shop for Hospital Care Based On Quality and Price
CMS Web Site Features Updated and More Robust Information
to Help Consumers with Their Health Care Choices

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), part of the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services (HHS), today posted new survey information at the
Hospital Compare consumer Web site offering consumers more insight about the
hospitals in their communities.

In addition to adding the new information from Medicare patients about their hospital
stays, CMS is adding information about the number of certain elective hospital
procedures provided to those patients and what Medicare pays for those services.  
For the first time, consumers have the three critical elements -- quality information,
patient satisfaction survey information, and pricing information for specific
procedures -- they need to make effective decisions about the quality and value of
the health care available to them through local hospitals.

“By enhancing these resources, Medicare is strengthening its commitment to use
the transparency of quality information to help give consumers more choice about
the quality of their health care and how they may be able to lower their health care
costs,” HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said. “To achieve goals around providing
consumers with the information necessary, and the incentive, to choose hospitals
based on quality and value, HHS is continuing work with partners such as the
Hospital Quality Alliance to drive quality up and the cost down.”

The Hospital Compare Web site currently provides information on 26 quality
measures, which include process of care and outcome measures.  Process of care
measures report how well a hospital provides care and outcome measures reflect
the results of the care that beneficiaries received while in the hospital.  With the
addition of the 10 new patient experience of care topics, consumers will now be
able to get a better picture of the quality of care delivered at their local hospitals.

“Medicare beneficiaries tell us that just like the information they receive about other
products and services they consume, they want to know what their neighbors are
saying about the care they received while in the hospital; they want to know how
much it costs; and they want to know about the quality of that care.  We are now
sharing that information,” said CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems.“The nation’s
hospitals and others who work with patients share our goal of improving the quality
of care for all.  Our quality improvement efforts include a wide-ranging set of tools
and data to do just that.”

The patient experience of care information on Hospital Compare is part of the
Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Hospital
Survey, know as HCAHPS.  HCAHPS is the first national, standardized, publicly
reported survey of patient perspectives on care they experience during a hospital
stay. More than 2,500 hospitals around the country have been collecting information
from a random sample of discharged patients who were treated for a wide range of
conditions between October 2006 and June 2007.  These patients were asked
about their experiences of care (including topics such as responsiveness of hospital
staff and pain management) and how they rate the hospital overall.  CMS worked
with the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and with
support from members of the Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA) to develop the
HCAHPS survey.

The new pricing and volume information at Hospital Compare looks at the acute
care hospital payments Medicare made for treatment of beneficiaries with certain
illnesses from October 2005 through September 2006.  This information reflects
what Medicare pays the hospital for these services, not what beneficiaries pay.  
CMS has posted this information for the public to see the cost to Medicare of
treating beneficiaries with certain illnesses in their community. A better
understanding of the cost of care leads to more informed decision making, one
more way beneficiaries can help improve their health and support the longer term
financial health of Medicare.

This summer, CMS will add an additional outcome mortality measure for pneumonia,
which will accompany the mortality measures for heart attack and heart failure that
are currently posted on the Hospital Compare Web site.  CMS will also provide
more information in the display of the mortality measures with the ability to focus on
the mortality measure rates, interval estimates and number of cases. Also, two
pediatric asthma measures that were collected by The Joint Commission, a national
accrediting organization, will now be posted on the Hospital Compare Web site.

The updated information is part of the public health effort to strengthen consumer
choice and create incentives to motivate providers to provide better care for all
Americans.  These enhancements to the current provider compare resources also
implement the four cornerstones in President Bush’s August, 2006, Executive Order
13410 promoting value driven health care by ensuring transparent quality and price
information, interoperable health information technology and incentives for high-
quality, efficient health care delivery.

“Hospitals have already stepped up their efforts to improve the care they provide
based on the quality information that has been publicly reported over the past few
years,” said Weems.  “This new information should help accelerate that process as
more and more people pay attention to this important information that is now
available to the public. Collectively, the quality, patient satisfaction, volume, and
pricing information will help us assure patients and their families that they have the
information they need about the care they are receiving while serving as a catalyst
to continue to improve the care delivered in our nation’s hospitals.”

To access the
Hospital Compare Web site, please visit:

Other provider compare Web sites are available through www.medicare.gov  

Nursing Home Information

Home Health Agency Information  www.medicare.gov/HHCompare    

End Stage Renal Disease facilities www.medicare.gov/Dialysis

Medicare Advantage & Medicare Supplement Insurance www.medicare.gov/MPPF

Medicare prescription drug plans www.medicare.gov/MPDPF

Friday, March 28, 2008
Contact: CMS Office of Public Affairs
(202) 690-6145
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