Now that the federal government has finally released its quality ratings for more than 5,500 U.S. dialysis facilities, it's time to move on and work within the system—even if the system is flawed, says DaVita Kidney Care CEO Javier Rodriguez.
Rodriguez responded to a Thursday post on Modern Healthcare's Vital Signs blog pointing out an apparent flip-flop in DaVita's stance on the rating, which is intended to inform dialysis patients about quality provided in treatment centers across the nation.
When the CMS announced its plan last summer, DaVita and other kidney care groups lashed out and were even successful at briefly delaying the rollout.
The ratings—which range from one to five stars—were finally posted to Dialysis Facility Compare in January, and DaVita facilities were among the top performers.
Rodriguez says the companies got “caught up in the design.” Trying to improve system flaws before it's implemented is the “common-sense thing to do,” he said in a phone call Friday. But now that the ratings are posted, poor performers should “stop being sour grapes” and focus on boosting their outcomes.
“The system isn't perfect. It will never be perfect,” he said. “But once decisions are made, you move forward.”
Despite DaVita's big pivot, others in the industry remain concerned about the star rating, which looks at publicly reported quality measures such as standardized ratios for transfusions, mortality and hospitalizations.
Among the biggest complaints is its forced bell curve, but an industry-supported analysis floated in April focused on geographic and demographic disparities.
Despite the criticisms, the CMS said it will update the dialysis facility star ratings on an annual basis, beginning in October. The agency also plans to add standardized readmission-ratio measures to the site.