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National Quality Forum Hospital Quality Star Rating Summit

The National Quality Forum (NQF) was founded with the goal of improving care for every person, and from our founding, transparent measurement has been recognized as a powerful lever to advance patient-centered care and empower consumers. Our mission and vision rely on collaboration to address priorities common to diverse stakeholders. Bringing all voices together at the same time to discuss key issues is central to driving measurable health improvements. 

The Hospital Star Rating System was introduced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to summarize quality data in a way that is easy for patients and consumers to make informed healthcare decisions. Yet, reactions to the program are mixed and stakeholders on all sides raise important questions. Uncertainty surrounding the transparency and validity of the Star Rating program potentially creates confusion for patients and caregivers relying on the ratings to choose the best quality care—and concern among providers being rated and using the ratings for quality improvement.

NQF convened the Hospital Quality Star Rating Summit with more than 20 diverse experts from across the healthcare community to explore the opportunities and challenges that exist within the Star Rating program. We brought hospitals, payers, purchasers, and consumers together in one place to have an open and honest dialogue with the common goal of ensuring Hospital Star Ratings are accurate and actionable. The Star Rating Summit continues NQF's commitment to explore how measure sets and measurement systems can advance performance measurement objectives while increasing transparency and minimizing burden.

This issue brief was developed by the comprehensive deliberations inspired at the Summit and provides recommendations and considerations to guide future actions on the Star Rating program. Our recommendations focus on aligning and clarifying goals, increasing transparency, and enhancing the presentation of data for people using the Star Rating program. Implementing the recommendations will help ensure consumers, patients, and caregivers can easily assess quality of care information across healthcare providers and engage as meaningful partners in care decisions. It is important to note that NQF has not taken a position or provided any specific recommendations on policy changes to the Star Ratings program that CMS announced earlier this year; rather, the objective of this work is to guide future program development.

At NQF, everyone has an equal voice in driving healthcare improvements that provide the greatest value to all. Consumers and providers continue to need accurate and actionable quality information to make informed healthcare decisions, and NQF looks forward to championing this important discussion.


Shantanu Agrawal, MD, MPhil
NQF President and CEO

Originally published as the Foreword of the National Quality Forum's Hospital Quality Star Rating Summit Issue Brief, November 6, 2019. Access the full issue brief for all details. 

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