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Federal Database On Physician Quality Ratings Comes Up Short, Experts Say

The database, which was created by the health law, offers only the most basic information, according to USA Today. 

USA Today: Federal Doctor Ratings Face Accuracy, Value Questions
Consumers searching this fall for the best doctor covered by their new public or private insurance plan won’t get very far on a federal database designed to rate physician quality. The Affordable Care Act requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide physician quality data, but that database offers only the most basic information. It’s so limited, health care experts say, as to be useless to many consumers (O’Donnell, 9/29).

Meanwhile, critical access hospitals are not yet part of the federal government’s push for improving quality –

Kaiser Health News: Many Rural Hospitals Are Excluded From Government’s Push For Better Quality
The Department of Health and Human Services has not yet incorporated the 1,256 primarily rural, “critical access” hospitals such as [Crawford Memorial Hospital, in rural Robinson, Ill.] into Medicare’s pay-for-performance programs. With no more than 25 beds, these hospitals are generally located in isolated areas, making them the only acute-care option for local residents. Medicare repays them their cost plus 1 percent, more than it pays other hospitals, to ensure they do not close. While some of the facilities deliver exemplary care, a study published last year by Harvard School of Public Health researchers found that death rates at critical access hospitals in 2010 were higher than at other small, rural hospitals and the industry overall (Rau, 9/30).

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