The Hospice Compare website has experienced errors in the search feature, and these errors have delayed the release of more current data. Updated scores were due for release on Nov. 21st. Hospice Compare was initiated in August 2017. Similar to Nursing Home Compare and Home Health Compare, the site is meant to be a tool that consumers can use to locate a high-quality provider in their area. Hospice Compare still does not include the star rating system.

The site provides information on how well hospices have scored on six measures related to patient preferences and managing pain and treating symptoms, compared to national averages.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services acknowledged in a statement that the Hospice Compare location search on the website may return incorrect results. The top of the website now includes this statement to users: “When searching by “location”, the list of agencies provided may not serve the Zip code, City or State you entered. We suggest you call any hospice you select to confirm that they serve your area.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released in a statement “We are currently working to improve the search functionality and will update the website as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience while we work to enhance the end users’ experience with Hospice Compare.”

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted the new Hospice Compare website. The site displays information in a ready-to­­-use format and provides a snapshot of the quality of care each hospice facility offers to its patients. The Hospice Compare site allows patients, family members, caregivers, and healthcare providers to compare hospice providers based on important quality metrics, such as the percentage of patients that were screened for pain or difficult or uncomfortable breathing, or whether patients’ preferences are being met. Currently, the data on Hospice Compare is based on information submitted by approximately 3,876 hospices.Section 1814(i)(5) of the Social Security Act authorizes a quality reporting program for hospices. The Act requires hospice providers to report data to CMS on a number of quality measures selected through notice and comment rulemaking. The Hospice Quality Reporting Program (HQRP) includes both quality data from the Hospice Item Set (HIS) and Hospice Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (Hospice CAHPS®).

Section 3004 of the Affordable Care Act established the Hospice Quality Reporting Program (HQRP). The Act also requires the Secretary to publically report quality measures that relate to hospice care provided by hospice programs on a CMS website.

Hospice Item Set (HIS) Quality Measures for Public Reporting in summer 2017:

  • Hospice and Palliative Care- Treatment Preferences - NQF #1641
  • Hospice and Palliative Care - Beliefs/Values Addressed- NQF #1647
  • Hospice and Palliative Care- Pain Screening- NQF #1634
  • Hospice and Palliative Care- Pain Assessment- NQF #1637
  • Hospice and Palliative Care- Dyspnea Screening- NQF #1639
  • Hospice and Palliative Care- Dyspnea Treatment- NQF #1638
  • Hospice and Palliative Care- Patients treated with opioid who are given a bowel regimen- NQF #1617

The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems (CAHPS®) Hospice survey information will be displayed during a subsequent quarterly data refresh in winter 2018.

Some experts say he measurements of quality used in HOSPICE COMPARE, which are self-reported by hospices, have limited use because over three-quarters of hospices scored at least 91 percent out of 100 on six of the seven categories, a recent paper in Health Affairs found. Because so many hospices reported high marks, there is “little room” for using these metrics to measure hospice quality.

A new Hospice Compare fact sheet is now available. This fact sheet contains information related to Hospice Compare and how the site can serve as a resource to providers in understanding their current quality ratings. The fact sheet also suggests approaches to communicating with patients and family members about how the Compare site can inform their decision-making process.

All questions related to hospice quality measures including hospice quality reporting questions, Hospice Compare, and Hospice Compare Preview Reports.should be directed to Hospice Quality Help Desk: HospiceQualityQuestions@cms.hhs.gov