CMS Delays Rollout of Dialysis Five Star Rating System

The rollout of the Five Star Rating System for dialysis facilities was scheduled to occur in October 9, 2014, but the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has delayed the implementation until January 2015. The delay is a result of feedback provided to CMS during a national provider call in July where CMS presented information on the Five Star Rating System for dialysis facilities.

Medicare Dialysis Facility Compare (DFC) is a website that was launched in 2001 as a service of CMS that provides information on Medicare-certified dialysis facilities for patients with end stage renal disease. The current DFC website features 11 measures on approximately 6,000 Medicare-certified dialysis facilities. CMS plans to introduce the Five-Star Rating System on DFC, and also plans to add this star ratings feature to all CMS Compare websites.

In response to the feedback from dialysis providers, the implementation of the Five Star Rating System has been delayed “to allow more time for consumer education about appropriate use of the ratings for making decisions about treatment.” CMS notes that this delay will also “give dialysis facilities extra time to review their ratings and fine tune verification and correction processes for data submission to DFC.” The provider community expressed concern that the program would be confusing to consumers and also questioned the methodology.

Prior to launching the DFC Five Star Rating System, CMS will provide a number of consumer education activities including an open door forum, consumer group informational sessions, and direct consumer outreach through newspapers, Internet, and other sources.

CMS is also reevaluating the timeline for implementing the Five Star Rating System for hospitals and home care providers. The Five Star Rating System is already in use for nursing homes and physician groups.

To access the July presentation on the rollout of the Five Star Rating System for DFC, please click here.

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