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Keywords: Medicare, Medicaid, online resources, nursing homes, participatory medicine.
Citation: Finn N. CMS releases new tools and enhancements for consumers and providers. J Participat Med. 2011 Sept 8; 3:e41.
Published: September 8, 2011.
Competing Interests: The author has declared that no competing interests exist.

In August, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the release of a new tool and other enhanced initiatives to empower consumers to make informed choices about their health care, and to help improve the quality of care in America’s hospitals, nursing homes, physician offices, and other health care settings. These tools include:

1. A Quality Care Finder to provide consumers with one online destination to access all of Medicare’s Compare tools — comparison information on hospitals, nursing homes and plans. Quality Care Finder enables e-patients to:

  • Get contact information for hospitals, doctors, nursing homes, home health agencies, dialysis facilities, and drug and health plans.
  • Compare information about the quality of care and services these providers and plans offer.
  • Get helpful tips on what to look for when comparing and choosing a provider or plan.

2. An updated Hospital Compare website, which now includes data about how well hospitals protect outpatients from surgical infections and whether hospitals care for outpatients who are treated for suspected heart attacks with proven therapies that reduce death:

  • CMS has also updated data for outcomes of inpatient hospital care on Hospital Compare. This update includes new 30-day mortality rates and 30-day readmission rates for inpatients admitted with heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia. These rates encompass three full years of claims data (from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2010).

3. An enhanced Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) program under which QIOs provide technical assistance and resources to health care providers across the country to assist them in changing how care is delivered in hospitals, nursing homes, physician offices, and across care settings.

Copyright: © 2011 Nancy B. Finn. Published here under license by The Journal of Participatory Medicine. Copyright for this article is retained by the author, with first publication rights granted to the Journal of Participatory Medicine. All journal content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. By virtue of their appearance in this open-access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings.