The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released its hospital star ratings that show at least a three-fold increase in the number of providers earning 5 stars this year over last.
Of 4,805 hospitals, 337 received 5 stars; another 1,154 received 4 stars; 1,186 got 3 stars; 752 received 2 stars; and 259 received 1 star.
Last year, an estimated 102 hospitals received 5 stars. Another 934 hospitals scored 4 stars, 1,770 earned 3 stars, 723 had 2 stars and 133, 1 star.
The results come after months of delay. CMS recently updated the methodology used in its Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating program. It is using a new distribution method called "k-means clustering" which is aimed at more accurately assigning hospitals to one of five categories in the 5-star ratings.
CMS' new statistical model provides more stability and accuracy, leading to hospitals being more evenly distributed on each end of the rating scale, from the low at 1 to the high at 5, CMS said.
CMS also removed winsorization, a method of trimming outlier hospital summary scores to promote a broader distribution of star ratings. CMS said the k-means clustering model made winsorization no longer necessary.
Patients can view the star rating scores for their local providers through the Hospital Compare website.