The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced on Friday that they have launched new online tools for patients and caregivers to “empower consumers to make informed choices about their health care,” as well as other initiatives to improve the quality of care “in America’s hospitals, nursing homes, physician offices, and other health care settings.”
The tools and initiatives announced on August 5 include:
- A Quality Care Finder to provide consumers with one online destination to access all of Medicare’s Compare tools — including comparison information on hospitals, nursing homes, home health care, dialysis facilities, physicians, and health insurance plans, at: www.Medicare.gov/QualityCareFinder.
- An updated Hospital Compare website, which now includes data about how well hospitals protect outpatients from surgical infections and whether hospitals care for outpatients who are treated for suspected heart attacks with proven therapies that reduce death, at: www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov and
- An enhanced Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) program under which QIOs provide technical assistance and resources to health care providers across the country to assist them in changing how care is delivered in hospitals, nursing homes, physician offices, and across care settings.” More information on this program is on CMS’ website at: www.cms.gov/qualityimprovementorgs
“These tools are new ways CMS is making sure consumers have information about health care quality and important information they need to make the best decisions about where to receive high-quality care,” said Dr. Don Berwick, the CMS Administrator. “These efforts are designed to also encourage providers to deliver safe, patient-centered care that consumers can rely on and will motivate improvement across our health care system.”
CMS also announced updated data for outcomes of inpatient hospital care on Hospital Compare. This update included new 30-day mortality rates and 30-day readmissions rates for inpatients admitted with heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia. These rates are based upon three full years of claims data (from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2010).
CMS stated that “This year, the national 30-day mortality rates for heart attack have continued to decline, falling by 0.3 percent from the 2006 through 2009 rate of 16.2 percent to the more recent 2007 through 2010 rate of 15.9 percent. Mortality rates for heart failure and pneumonia increased slightly over the same period, showing an increase from 11.2 to 11.3 percent for heart failure and 11.6 to 11.9 percent for pneumonia, respectively.”
For additional Information relating to the CMS announcement of August 5, 2011, see the following Fact Sheets provided by CMS:
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