WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 24, 2020)—Seema Verma, Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced in a blog post that the consumer-facing Compare tools (Hospital, Nursing Home, Home Health, Dialysis Facility, Long-term Care Hospital, Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility, Physician and Hospice) will be rolled into one new tool called Medicare Care Compare housed on medicare.gov.

“We are working on new improvements to medicare.gov to help patients find health care providers in different settings across the care continuum,” Verma said in the blog post. “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.”

CMS is also creating a Provider Data Catalog for cms.gov. According to Verma, the catalog will help researchers and stakeholders easily search and download publicly reported data.

“Even though we’re making these enhancements, it doesn’t change our public reporting requirements, and we will continue to meet every reporting mandate,” she said. “We’re planning to launch both 'Medicare Care Compare' and the 'Provider Data Catalog' this spring, kicking off a transition period that allows the public to use them alongside the existing tools before we retire them.”

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) said it supports the updates to the tools but has concerns about the star ratings.

“NAHC has long supported CMS’s efforts to provide guidance and support to beneficiaries regarding the best choice of care providers,” NAHC President William A. Dombi said in response to Verma’s announcement. “This latest step should further improve the information sources available. Still, we remain concerned that the home health star rating methodology involves a distribution of stars, rather than a system that awards stars based on reaching certain performance target levels. The CMS model is not consistent with what consumers see in their everyday lives. A change to a consistent model would be the best advance that CMS could make to help beneficiaries navigate the difficult decision of which provider to choose.”

Visit cms.gov for more information.