The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services released their ratings for 3,724 hospitals around the United States. Over half of the 56 hospitals rated in Arizona scored three stars or below; nearly one-third received one or two stars. The averages for the state and the nation was three stars.
Banner Page Hospital was not rated; however, Flagstaff Medical Center, Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, received five-star ratings. Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, and Garfield Memorial Hospital in Panguitch both received four-stars.
The ratings are posted on a federal website called Hospital Compare that allows people to review the ratings and compare hospitals and look up specific measures such as timely and effective care.
The ratings are created using data collected over one year from patients and hospitals regarding seven categories such as wait times for emergency department services, sepsis care, and electronic availability of lab results. The data received is compared with other hospitals around the country.
Hospital leaders have complained about the star ratings, stating that the ratings punish hospitals that handle more complex and sicker populations. Some patient safety experts say the star ratings are necessary and positive for health care since they provide transparency which encourages improvement and fosters trust.
Federal officials have stated that changes to the star rating program are being considered in an effort to make the ratings more precise and consistent. One change that is being considered would place hospitals with similar traits in groups that would allow for equal comparison, for example, a research hospital would be compared with research hospitals, rather than all hospital types.
The federal public comment period on the proposed changes is open until March 29.
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