CMS to release hospital death rates data for heart cases

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in June plans to post a basic web-based comparison of death rates for heart attack and heart failure at its web page, Hospital Compare (, USA Today reports. The agency will name the hospitals that it considers high-risk with hopes of pressuring them to improve their care. Taking data from July 2006 to June of last year, the site will emphasize which facilities rate above expectations, meet expectations, or do worse, depending. The site, however, will not list specific death rate information.

This approach has garnered criticism from some doctors and hospital administrators who believe this analysis doesn't provide enough information regarding the condition of the patient or the circumstances of each case. Others have said that CMS is being too cautious by not providing detained information regarding death rates. And some have said that this way of reporting leaves most hospitals in the United States statistically indistinguishable from one another.