On Thursday, Sept. 3, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched Care Compare – an online consumer-facing database of provider quality information.
In January, CMS originally announced its plan to merge Home Health Compare with its seven other Compare sites. Agency officials said the goal was to create one tool to streamline information for Medicare beneficiaries and their family members, according to Home Health Care News.
Before the new Care Compare database was unveiled, CMS maintained eight separate Compare tools on Medicare.gov for the following settings: hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, dialysis facilities, long-term care hospitals, in-patient rehabilitation facilities, physician offices and hospice agencies. The eight different interfaces representing each care setting was confusing for users, according to CMS Administrator Seema Verma. Care Compare displays information in a modern design and the database provides access to health care cost, quality and volume of services data.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement,
By aggregating all eight of CMS’ quality tools into a single interface, patients can easily research different providers and facilities before they entrust themselves to their care. Today’s launch of Care Compare is the next step in fulfilling our eMedicare promise.
The remodeled site, available on Medicare.gov, can now access users’ location and features a drop-down menu allowing the consumer to select providers by type. Options are hospitals, nursing homes, home health, dialysis centers, long-term care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation, physicians and hospice groups. A user can compare up to three providers using information about costs, location and quality data. The site is also compatible for use on smartphones and tablets, according to Modern Healthcare.
Under the existing framework, a patient planning to have bypass surgery would need to visit Hospital Compare, Nursing Home Compare, and Home Health Compare to research providers for the different phases of their surgery and rehabilitation. Under the new system, patients can search at Care Compare to find and compare providers that meet their healthcare needs. The Care Compare site will include information about quality measures presented similarly and clearly across all provider types and care settings, according to Health Leaders Media.
In reporting from Hospice News, patients and families are paying increased attention to quality data when choosing a hospice provider. These numbers will also be critical in demonstrating a provider’s value proposition to private payers in programs like Medicare Advantage. CMS will test the inclusion of hospice in the value-based insurance design model starting in 2021.