Dialysis Center Five-Star Quality Rating System FAQs

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched its Five-Star Quality Rating System for dialysis centers in 2013. DaVita has been recognized as a clinical leader in Five-Star, with a focus on improving quality of life for the patients we treat. The CMS Five-Star ratings are made up of two separate scores: the Quality of Patient Care Star Rating and the Patient Experience Star Rating.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The FAQs below offer more information on Five-Star. We hope this transparency helps empower patients to make informed and educated decisions for their dialysis care.

What is the Five-Star Quality Rating System?

The Five-Star Quality Rating System was created by CMS to give patients and care partners access to select clinical quality information to help them make informed and educated decisions about where to receive dialysis care. These ratings are made up of two scores: the Quality of Patient Care Star Rating and the Patient Experience Rating.

What does the Quality of Patient Care Star Rating mean?

The Quality of Patient Care Five-Star Rating was developed by CMS and uses data to assign a star rating of 1 to 5 to each dialysis center based on the quality of patient outcomes. The following measures are included:

  • Dialysis Adequacy (Kt/V)
  • Hypercalcemia (uncorrected calcium)
  • Standardized Fistula Rate
  • Long-Term Catheter Rate
  • Standardized First Kidney Transplant Waitlist Ratio for Incident Dialysis Patients
  • Percentage of Prevalent Patients Waitlisted
  • Standardized Mortality Ratio
  • Standardized Hospitalization Ratio
  • Standardized Transfusion Ratio
  • Standardized Readmission Ratio

My center has received a one- or two-star Quality Patient Care Star Rating. Does this mean my care team and center isn't meeting certain standards?

No. There are multiple ways to measure quality of care, and Five-Star is just one way based on a limited selection of clinical measures. Delivering the best care possible in a safe, therapeutic environment is our priority, and we hold all of our centers to the same high level of clinical standards . In the spirit of continuous improvement, we are also always looking to improve our centers and will continue to strive to do so.

Patient Experience Ratings reflect patient experience scores from the CMS In-Center Hemodialysis Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (ICH CAHPS) survey. This optional survey is given twice a year to eligible dialysis patients (patients who have received in-center hemodialysis at the center for at least 3 consecutive months, are at least 18 years old and are not living in a skilled nursing facility or other long-term facility). For a center to receive a Patient Experience Rating, at least 30 patients at least 30 patients had to have completed the survey over the two most recent survey periods

What does the Patient Experience Rating mean?

CMS uses a Patient Experience Rating to measure the experience of in-center hemodialysis patients and to give a better picture of how dialysis centers are performing on topics that are important to patients, such as how well their nephrologists and dialysis center care team communicate with them. The Patient Experience Rating is measured according to six measures:

  1. Rating of nephrologist
  2. Rating of dialysis care team
  3. Rating of dialysis center
  4. Nephrologists’ communication and caring
  5. Information provided to patients
  6. Dialysis care team operations