Newswise — Rush University Medical Center and Rush Copley Medical Center each have received five stars, the highest possible rating, for hospital quality from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. CMS, as the centers are known, published the latest overall ratings for hospitals nationwide on their Hospital Compare website today.

Less than 7.5 percent of hospitals nationwide received five stars, and only 20 in Illinois received five stars. The most common rating nationwide is three stars.

Rush University Medical Center previously had a four star rating from CMS. The new, improved rating makes Rush University Medical Center the only five-star academic medical center in the Chicago area. 

 “These five-star ratings, and the four-star rating that Rush Oak Park Hospital received from CMS in November, are indications that the Rush system is providing very high-quality patient care throughout our hospitals,” said Dr. Larry Goodman, the CEO of the Rush system and of Rush University Medical Center. “Our consistency across many measurements of quality reflects the high standards that we set for ourselves and the excellence of the people who work at Rush, in every role.

“In this most recent example, it’s very gratifying to see CMS’ own data recognize this excellence and the better outcomes for patients that we’re achieving. Combining this evaluation with our Top Teaching Hospital designation and straight 'A' grades for safety by the Leapfrog Group; our Magnet Nursing status; Rush's top tier ranking, number four in the nation, by Vizient; our Most Wired status; and the recognition of multiple programs as among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report together provide important external validation that the quality of care available at Rush is among the best in the nation.”

Ratings are based on 57 measures of quality of care

CMS (the federal agency that runs the Medicare program)  awards an overall rating of one to five stars based on 57 quality measures out of the more than 100 such measures that CMS collects from hospitals and publicly reports on the website. The ratings were developed to help consumers make decisions about where to seek medical treatment and other kinds of care.

The quality measures are evaluations of each hospital’s performance on multiple measures of mortality, safety of care, readmissions, patient experience, effectiveness of care, timeliness of care and efficient use of medical imaging. The overall star rating shows how well each hospital performed, on average, compared to other hospitals in the United States, and is intended to simplify the website’s multiple data points available for patients.

Rush University Medical Center performed better than the national average in the measure groups of mortality, safety of care and patient experience; and was rated the same as the national average for effectiveness of care and efficient use of medical imaging. Rush Copley Medical Center outperformed the national average in the measure groups of readmission, safety of care, patient experience and efficient use of medical imaging; and was rated the same as the national average in the other three groups.

Overall hospital ratings were introduced in July of 2016

CMS only assessed hospitals on the measures for which they submit data, and some of the data applies only to beneficiaries of Medicare, the federal health insurance program for adults age 65 and older and younger people with disabilities, end stage kidney disease and ALS. The measures of patient experience, process of care and hospital-acquired infections are based on data from all insurance/payers, according to CMS.

The ratings do not include more complex or specialized procedures that certain hospitals provide, such as specialized cancer care. About 20 percent of hospitals on the Hospital Compare website did not receive overall star ratings because CMS does not have sufficient data about them to calculate a rating.

CMS introduced the overall rating in July of 2016. Since then, some hospitals and hospital associations have expressed concerns about the measures, such as the ratings not reflecting advanced treatments.

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