Five-star ratings aren’t just for hotels and restaurants. They apply to hospitals, too. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) — the nation’s top health agency — recently released its 2020 hospital ratings to help consumers shop for the best medical care. Yet few people know this information exists, and many may not understand why it matters. Here is an overview to inform consumers on why these ratings matter.

CMS developed its Five-Star Quality Rating System to give consumers, families and caregivers the facts they need to make informed healthcare decisions. The CMS Hospital Compare website posts ratings so people can evaluate hospital performance and see how their local health care facilities measure up.

The Five-Star Quality Rating System is not a beauty contest or a collection of patient comments. It is an evidence-based, data-driven appraisal of 57 quality measures that have real meaning for patients’ health and well-being. Broad categories include:

  • Mortality, including death rates for heart attack and stroke
  • Safety, including infection rates and surgical complications
  • Patient Experience, including clinician communication, medication education and a quiet environment
  • Effectiveness of Care, including preventive and follow-up care
  • Timeliness of Care, including emergency room and outpatient care
  • Readmissions

The overall hospital rating ranges from one to five stars; the more stars, the better a hospital performed on these quality measures. A five-star rating indicates a hospital is providing excellence in every area.  

Why is it important for people to see this data? Because healthcare has moved beyond transactions to embrace a more value-driven, customer-centric model in which patients play a greater role in managing their care.

Ratings such as the CMS Five-Star put the patient in the driver’s seat. They provide people with timely access to transparent, comprehensive, reliable information. They empower better decision-making. And they compel providers to compete based on quality and experience. All of this is good news for healthcare consumers.

At Inova, we encourage our patients and families to visit the Hospital Compare website and seek out the most up-to-date hospital quality information. We believe an educated community will lead to better patient outcomes.

All five Inova hospitals received a 5-Star rating by CMS this January. This is significant because Inova is one of only seven health systems with more than three hospitals — nationwide — in which all hospitals received five stars. This makes Inova the highest-rated system in the Washington, DC metro area and in the top 9 percent in the country.

Inova was also recognized by U.S. News & World Report, which named Inova Fairfax Hospital the No. 1 hospital in the Washington, DC region, and all five Inova hospitals were awarded ‘A’ grades for the Fall 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades.

Hospital Compare reports information on quality measures for more than 4,000 hospitals nationwide, including Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Centers and military hospitals. The website provides information for patients and caregivers on how well hospitals deliver care and encourages hospitals to improve the quality of care they provide. Learn more at

1 Comment

  1. J. Matthews on February 25, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    I visited Dr. Lucy De La Cruz with a friend and would like to give her a raving review for excellence, professionlism, calm, courteous, and high level of patience and competence. She is a go for the goal kind of professional who will keep working for the patient until the job is successfully completed.

    Thanks Dr. Lucy De La Cruz.

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