CMS gives the public access to hospital care data

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services yesterday launched a Web site that lets the public compare hospitals based on their quality of care in treating certain medical conditions.

Hospital Compare measures how often hospitals provide the care known to get best results for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia patients. It lists 17 measures widely used to treat the three conditions. The public can access the site at hospitalcompare.hhs.gov and search for hospitals by name and geographic region.

“Not only are we spending more on our health care, but where we choose to get our care matters more than ever before,” said CMS administrator Mark McClellan. “Valid, consistent measures of quality care are an important tool to help us make sure we are getting the most for our health care dollars.”

CMS, an agency of the Health and Human Services Department, uses data from hospitals’ patient records to judge quality of care. The data is converted to rates that measure how well the hospitals care for their patients. The Hospital Quality Alliance, a public-private collaboration of consumer, medical and employer organizations and federal agencies, worked with CMS to develop the site.

CMS and the alliance plan to increase the number of measures and the types of conditions and treatments on which the hospitals will report.

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