The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is combining the eight separate “Compare” websites that display publicly reported quality information into a single resource to be called Medicare Care Compare. The agency expects to launch the new website later this year.
This move will apply to hospice organizations as well as hospitals, nursing homes, home health care organizations, dialysis facilities, long-term care hospitals, physician practices, and inpatient rehabilitation facilities.
“We are working on new improvements to Medicare.gov to help patients find health care providers in different settings across the care continuum. Later this year, CMS plans to launch a simplified and consistent online experience to make it easier for consumers to find and compare care, while also meeting the needs of industry stakeholders who search data that are important to them,” the agency said in a statement. “These improvements build on past efforts under the eMedicare initiative, which aims to deliver customized information that beneficiaries want and need.”
CMS uses Hospice Compare to publicly report hospice provider performance on quality measures. Referring organizations such as hospitals and nursing homes, as well as patients and families, are paying increasing attention to these scores when choosing a hospice.
Hospices are required to submit data to two CMS systems. The Hospice Item Set contains nine publicly reported quality measures. In the second measurement system, CAHPS, surveys are sent to the family after the patient has passed away to gauge their satisfaction with the care their family member received. The survey vendor contacts the family by phone or mail approximately 42 days after the end of the month in which the patient died.
The survey’s 47 questions indicate the family’s perception of hospice performance on 11 metrics such as hospice team communication, symptom management, emotional and spiritual support, patient and caregiver training, and whether the family would recommend the hospice, among other data points.
The forthcoming website from CMS will allow patients and families to compare providers across various health care settings.
“The new Medicare Care Compare on Medicare.gov will offer Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers and other users a consistent look and feel, providing a streamlined experience to meet their individual needs in accessing information about health care providers and care settings,” the agency stated. “In the new, unified experience, patients will be able to easily find the information that is most important to help make health care decisions, like getting quality data by the type of health care provider.”