Patient Engagement HIT: VA Scraps Star Ratings to Boost Care Quality Transparency

“The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is working to make it easier for veteran patients to compare quality care and patient experience data at VA and non-VA healthcare facilities. Part of this effort includes removal of the VA star ratings program, the agency says.”

“’Star ratings were developed as an internal tool meant to compare one VA facility to another,’ said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. ‘These ratings do not provide insight as to how our hospitals stack up against nearby non-VA facilities and are therefore of little value in helping Veterans make informed health care decisions. This change will make it easier for Veterans to choose the best possible care close to home, when and where they need it.’”

“VA also reported very few patients actually use these star ratings to make healthcare access decisions.”

“Instead, the VA will host a quality care comparison tool on each of its VA medical centers’ webpages. The tools will include industry-standard care quality information collected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).”

“These industry-standard measures will make it easier for patients to make apples-to-apples comparisons between VA medical centers and civilian or non-VA healthcare options.”

“The change will also help veteran patients sidestep any misinterpretation challenges that stem from publishing quality star ratings. According to NCQA, star ratings are not always a great measure of patient experience or hospital quality because they do not always represent factors that will be important to a specific patient accessing a certain type of care…” Read the full article here.

Source: VA Scraps Star Ratings to Boost Care Quality Transparency – By Sara Heath, December 17, 2019. Patient Engagement HIT.

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