Medicare’s Five Star Rating System and Why It Matters

by Amy Potter - Monday, June 05, 2017
The federal government began rating Medicare-certified home health agencies on a Star rating system in July, 2015 hoping to assist older adults and their families distinguish between exceptional, good and poor performing providers. The goal of the Five Star system is to support consumers of home health make good decisions. In the Medicare system, it is the patient’s right to choose his/her home health provider. Medicare spends about $18 billion a year on skilled home health services for homebound seniors and The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) are putting steps in place to pay for quality. The Star rating system is one way to accomplish that. CMS wants patients, physicians and hospitals to choose the best.

Medicare Certified Home Health AgencyHome Therapy of Austin, LLC is the only Medicare certified agency in the local area that has been rated Five Stars, the highest of all ratings, since the rating system began. The ratings (1 to 5 stars) are updated every quarter and can be found at www.medicare.gov/homecarecompare. There are approximately 10,000 agencies that are rated each quarter and less than 350 nationwide achieve Five Stars. 

The ratings are derived from results on nine measurements including how timely the agency was in starting care, how much patients improved in skills like walking, getting in and out of bed, bathing, breathing, moving with less pain and if the patient and caregiver was instructed on medications. Further, the ratings are influenced by how well the agency keeps patients out of the hospital and the Emergency Room.

Beginning in 2016, Medicare began to issue separate Star ratings for patient experience. These Star ratings come directly from patient satisfaction surveys sent to the patient by a company representing Medicare. Home Therapy of Austin, LLC has never failed to be rated Five Stars in patient experience/satisfaction.

It is not easy to achieve a Five Star rating. In fact, Home Therapy began to work on quality improvement five years before the Star rating system began. Our work has been defined, methodical and relentless. Among other things it has meant an investment in hiring and keeping the best clinicians available. It means always putting the patient’s needs first….and before profit. Our commitment and our values have been recognized through the Star rating system and we are proud of the fact we are the best option in the marketplace.

For more information about the Star rating system or about Home Therapy, you are invited to call me personally at 512-637-1550. We would be honored to provide our award winning care to you or your loved one.