Medical Products Key For Improving Post-Acute CMS Star Ratings

August 2018

HIDA Post-Acute Insights

By Ann Peters
Manager, Research & Analytics

Post-acute providers are highly focused on attaining an excellent score under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) five-star rating system, according to HIDA’s 2018 Provider Survey: The Impact Of Five-Star. This survey of skilled nursing facility (SNF) owners, chief executives, and administrators looks at how CMS’s five-star program has shifted organizational priorities, and what this means for healthcare manufacturers and distributors.

Most executives (71%) report the program has had a strong impact on their facility in several ways, such as driving additional referrals from hospitals, strengthening partnerships with other providers, or enhancing their marketing efforts. A majority of executives (70%) believe medical products can improve their five-star rating.

Other key insights from this research include:

Most SNFs partner with hospitals to reduce readmissions
The vast majority (82%) of survey respondents said they partner with hospitals to help reduce readmissions. The primary reason for these partnerships is due to the fact that hospitals are a primary referral source. Only 14% of respondents listed common ownership as a reason for working with hospitals.

Hospital referrals are a key driver of occupancy in SNFs. Two-thirds (66%) of respondents said patients from hospitals accounted for more than half of their total occupancy, and 34% said hospital referrals accounted for 90% or more of their total occupancy.

SNFs plan to add new services
Respondents indicate they are planning to expand the range of services they offer. Cardiac, pulmonary, and orthopedic rehabilitation are the leading services SNFs plan to offer, though other new services mentioned include memory care and assisted care.

To support new services, responding facilities plan to invest in new equipment. This year, 22% will invest in orthopedic rehabilitation equipment, while 21% will also invest in cardiac equipment.

Overall, SNFs plan to increase their per-patient spending this year, with more than half reporting a 1% to 5% increase in spending. Inflation and acuity were the most commonly cited drivers of increases in medical supply budgets.

Over the past two years, the share of facilities participating in new CMS payment programs has risen. This year, 56% of SNFs are participating in an accountable care organization, up from 47% in 2016. Meanwhile, the share of SNFs participating in bundled payment programs increased from 42% in 2016 to 52% in 2018.

For more information, and to see additional research reports in HIDA’s Provider Survey series, visit