Last year, just 2.2%, or 102 institutions, received a five-star rating, while 20.3% received four stars, 38.5% received three, 15.7% earned two stars and 2.9% received a single star. For 20.4% of hospitals, the star rating was deemed not applicable, a status conferred on hospitals that did not meet minimum reporting thresholds.
The retooled formula slightly flattens the usual bell curve of hospitals that receive stars on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest rating. In the previous methodology, few hospitals received 1 or 5 stars, and the majority have 2, 3 or 4 stars. While that's still the case, the number of hospitals with 1 or 5 stars has risen.
Using the new methodology looking at 2017 data, 772 fewer hospitals are rated three-star. 20% received only a one or two-star rating, while 30% received a higher star rating.
Of hospitals with a five-star rating, 80% had performed at a five-star level this year.
Of hospitals with a four-star rating, 20% received only a three or two-star rating.
Twenty-seven percent of two-star hospitals went on to receive a three- or four-star rating.
On average, safety net hospitals hospitals earned slightly lower ratings, with a mean of 2.88 stars, than did non-safety net hospitals, which garnered an average rating of 3.09 stars, according to distribution data released Thursday by CMS.