Hospice providers are showing impressive scores on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ new Hospice Compare website — but those high grades have led some to question the site’s efficacy.
Hospice Compare, launched in mid-August, covers data from nearly 4,000 hospice providers on seven quality measures including patients’ beliefs and values addressed, pain assessments, patients treated with opioids who are given a bowel regimen, and treatment preferences.
CMS officials told reporters that they hope the site will open up a conversation between providers, patients and families.
More than three-quarters of the hospices with data on the site scored at least 91% on six of the seven measures, a recent Health Affairs report showed. That’s likely due to the time providers had to familiarize themselves on the measures, CMS officials said. They also noted that differentiation exists for lower-performing hospices.
Despite CMS’ assurances, the ratings should be taken “with a grain of salt,” Karl Steinberg, M.D., who works with the National Quality Forums on quality measures, told STAT.
Joanne Lynn, M.D., a geriatrician with the Altarum Institute, told Kaiser Health News that while it’s good that CMS is working on hospice quality, “at the present time, [the site] is of pretty limited value.”
Data from the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems Hospice survey will be added to the site next year, as well as a new measure gauging the number of hospice visits when death is imminent. That measure is expected in late 2018.
Those should create more differentiation between providers, CMS officials said.