Healthcare payers, providers and consumers may view an expanded and more current array of quality measures with a major update posted Thursday on two Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services websites, Hospital Compare and Nursing Home Compare.
The agency also refreshed annual readmissions and mortality rate data, with new spreadsheets showing those hospitals that are better or worse than national averages during a three-year period. For readmissions, the data collection period of July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2011 represents the performance period that will be used to determine penalties as high as 1% of a hospital's Medicare DRG payments starting Oct. 1.
The agency has also updated performance data for hospital-acquired conditions, healthcare-associated infections, outpatient imaging safety measures and certain metrics set by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that may become part of the value-based purchasing incentive payment formula.
Two new measures were added to the Website to reflect the degree to which providers were judicious in their use of certain imaging tests involving radiation. One shows rates of use of cardiac imaging stress tests, which may involve CT scans, in patients before low-risk outpatient surgery, which many experts agree is not necessary. The other indicates the number of outpatients who received brain CT scans who also got sinus CT scans at the same time.