WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 29, 2016)—Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced the first patient experience of care star ratings on Home Health Compare. Known as Home Health Care Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HHCAHPS) Survey star ratings, these measures evaluate patients’ experiences with home health agencies.

Home Health Compare is the agency’s public information website that provides information on how well Medicare-certified agencies provide care to their patients. The HHCAHPS Survey star ratings report patients’ experiences of care ranging from one star to five stars using data from patients (or the family or friends of patients) that have been treated by the agency. Five stars is the highest rating and reflects the best patient experience. There are over 11,000 agencies with data on Home Health Compare, and more than 6,000 of them now have patient care experience star ratings.

Previously, patients could select multiple agencies at a time on Home Health Compare to compare agency performance on individual HHCAHPS items, such as how often the home health team delivered care in a professional way. In addition, patients have also had access to summary Quality of Patient Care star ratings for each agency. These star ratings summarize home health agencies’ performance on nine quality measures that indicate how well they assist their patients in regaining or maintaining important functional abilities and how frequently they adhere to evidence-based processes of care.

Now, patients and their family members can go one step further: they can compare information on patients’ experiences of home health care at these agencies through the HHCAHPS Survey star ratings. Starting today, an individual is able to view the following five HHCAHPS Survey star ratings for each home health agency listed on the website:

  1. Care of Patients
  2. Communication Between Providers and Patients
  3. Specific Care Issues
  4. Overall Rating of Care Provided by the Home Health Agency
  5. Survey Summary star rating

Some home health agencies do not have enough data right now to calculate and display star ratings. However, CMS continually updates Home Health Compare, and all of its Compare websites, so those home health agencies that do not currently have patient experience star ratings may have star ratings in the future.

“Having the HHCAHPS Survey star ratings on Home Health Compare helps patients and their families make more informed health care decisions and encourages home health agencies to strive for higher levels of quality and patient experience,” said CMS Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer Patrick Conway, M.D., MSc. “We hope patients and their families find this information helpful and visit our other provider comparison websites.”

Today’s announcement on Home Health Compare is the latest example of how CMS is committed to transparency and helping patients and their family members make informed health care decisions through an initiative to simplify the quality of care information across all CMS Compare websites. It also supports the larger effort across the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to build a health care system that delivers better care, spends health care dollars more wisely, and results in healthier people.

Other available comparison sites from CMS are:

  • Nursing Home Compare features an overall star rating for each nursing home.
  • Physician Compare uses star ratings to display ratings for several meaningful measures for group practices.
  • Dialysis Compare uses star ratings to help make data on dialysis centers easier to understand and use.
  • Hospital Compare uses star ratings to help consumers compare and choose among hospitals.