DaVita Medical Insights

4 Tips on Using the CMS Five-Star Quality Rating System

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Five-Star Quality Rating System gives patients and their caregivers an easy way to compare dialysis centers and determine which one is best for them based on quality of care. Patients can easily review the star ratings of local dialysis centers on CMS’ Dialysis Facility Compare. The site offers expanded descriptions of the seven quality measures used to establish the rating (including mortality, hospitalization and transfusion ratios) and tips on how to talk to dialysis care providers.

We clinicians should help patients receive high-quality care by first understanding how the star rating system works and then educating patients and their care teams on Five-Star. Here are four tips on how you can use the Five-Star Quality Rating System:

1. Check Your Center’s Rating

CMS describes the star ratings as a way for consumers to quickly spot differences in quality when they’re trying to select a center. But the ratings are also useful for healthcare providers who want the most current government rating information available. In addition, Five-Star helps identify areas for improvement.

2. Talk to Your Patients about Star Ratings

Dialysis Facility Compare provides information about best treatment practices, hospitalizations and deaths. Yet these measures are only part of the overall quality picture. Other factors, such as a convenient location and the type of patients served at a center, are also important for your patients to understand, and the importance of these other factors may not be apparent to your patients without a discussion.

3. Connect with Your Care Team

Work with your staff so that they know your center’s Five-Star rating and how it was determined.

4. Boost Your Center’s Credibility with Five-Star

Dialysis Facility Compare is an independent service that provides additional credibility to your center. The rating of your center can be an important differentiator in positioning yourself to local hospitals and health plans as a top provider.

We, in collaboration with the dialysis center teams, must remain accountable in supporting high-quality care and continuously drive improved outcomes. Our communities, patients and patient families deserve the best-possible care!

Robert Provenzano, MD, FACP, FASN

Robert Provenzano, MD, FACP, FASN

In addition to his roles as chief medical officer at Nephrology Practice Solutions and vice president of medical affairs at DaVita Kidney Care, Robert Provenzano, MD, is a clinical professor of medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, where he earned his medical degree. He completed his fellowship training at Henry Ford Hospital and served as the chief of the nephrology, hypertension & transplantation section and director of nephrology research at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit. Dr. Provenzano is former president of the Renal Physicians Association and chair of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. He is also former CEO of St. Clair Specialty Physicians, PC, a multistate nephrology practice. He has published extensively on kidney care business models and is the chief medical officer of Nephrology Practice Solutions (NPS), a national kidney care management company affiliated with DaVita that oversees owned and managed practices. Twitter: @DrBobPro