In the Headlines

Maryland: CMS launches star rating system for hospitals
CMS (Baltimore, MD) announced a star rating system for hospitals that is based on HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) scores. The patient experience ratings, in which a hospital earns anywhere from zero to five stars, come before an overall rating system expected to launch in 2016 that will be based on the full range of quality measures now published on the CMS Hospital Compare website. The hospital ratings will be updated quarterly. The first set of overall patient experience ratings are based on discharge data from July 2013 through June 2014. An official for the American Hospital Association (AHA) (Chicago, IL) stated that though star ratings could be an effective way to make quality information easier to understand, there is “a risk of oversimplifying the complexity of quality care or misinterpreting what is important to a particular patient.”

Louisiana: Slidell Memorial Hospital, Ochsner Health sign LOI for strategic partnership
Ochsner Health System (New Orleans, LA) and Slidell Memorial Hospital (Slidell, LA) signed a LOI form a joint operating company that will oversee cooperative ventures between the systems. Goals of the partnership include expanding clinical services, deploying new patient-centered technology, and sharing resources and best practices to reduce costs and improve care. Slidell Memorial Hospital will remain independently owned and maintain its existing board of trustees, though a committee with equal representation from both organizations will direct the collaboration. An anticipated closing date for the agreement was not released.

Ohio: Cleveland Clinic Innovations launches e-commerce company
Cleveland Clinic’s (Cleveland, OH) business development arm, Cleveland Clinic Innovations, launched AEDO, an e-commerce company. ADEO will sell digital healthcare products directly to hospitals, private practice physicians, and patients. The website,, currently offers 13 products, including educational toolkits, apps, and other software.

Washington: VA begins construction on $152M expansion in Seattle to increase access to mental health care
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (Washington, DC) broke ground on a 219,000-sq-ft, $152 million expansion of its VA Puget Sound Health Care System (Seattle, WA) to bring more focus to mental health care. The project will provide space for 250 additional mental health providers. Stantec Architects (State College, PA), The Design Partnership (Oakland, CA), and Clark Construction (Bethesda, MD) expect completion in 2017. VA Puget Sound is a part of VISN 20 Northwest Network (Vancouver, WA).

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