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Study Finds Hospitals with Higher Star Ratings Less Likely to be Located in Communities with Higher Minority Populations, Lower Income, Lower Levels of Educational Attainment

A study published in Journal of Hospital Medicine focused on the associations between star ratings and community characteristics, including racial/ethnic mix, household income, educational attainment, and regional difference.

Researchers analyzed data from muntiple sources including hospital overall quality ratings from the Hospital Compare website (www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare) released in July 2018; key hospital characteristics extracted by American Hospital Directory and Medicare cost reports; socioeconomic and demographic variables from the Area Health Resources Files (AHRF) maintained by Health Resources & Services Administration; Hospital referral region data from Dartmouth Atlas Project. Overall, the study included 3,075 acute care hospitals in 1,047 counties and 306 hospital referral regions.

The study found that hospitals with higher hospital star ratings are less likely to be located in communities with higher minority populations, lower income, and lower levels of educational attainment. Findings contribute to the discussion of integrating social factors in hospital quality star rating calculation methodologies.

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