CMS Updates Hospital Compare Website

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , July 20, 2012

Because CT imaging tests expose patients to high levels of radiation, patients who are being diagnosed for problems related to headaches or chronic sinus infections should undergo a sinus CT first to determine if a second CT is actually necessary. "Experts do not recommend doing both tests at once unless patients have head injuries, tumors, or serious signs of infection," the website explains.

"We all know the adage that what gets measured gets done," CMS deputy chief medical officer Shari Ling said during a conference call organized for members by the Association of Healthcare Journalists.  "The measures on these sites are part of robust reporting program, or reporting programs that has been shown to help hospitals and nursing homes collect the data they need to pinpoint possible breakdowns in care and areas for improvement."

She added, "This will make it easier for patients to get exactly the information that they are looking for faster."

One of the most significant changes is a substantial addition to Nursing Home Compare, which includes hospital-specific use of anti-psychotic drugs for both long-stay and short-stay skilled nursing home patients.  The site also now includes detailed quality reports specifying deficiencies when agency personnel investigated a complaint or launched a routine facility inspection.

The nursing home component shows ratings of staffing, the percentage of nursing home residents who report moderate to severe pain, received appropriate vaccines, have had urinary catheters inserted, have been physically restrained, have developed pressure ulcers, suffered falls, lost too much weight, or had major depressive symptoms.

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