Bush Administration Launches Ad Campaign for Hospital Web Site
On Wednesday, CMS launched a national advertising campaign to promote its Hospital Compare Web site, which provides data on the quality of care in hospitals across the U.S., USA Today reports.
The Web site was launched in 2005 and expanded in March. It allows consumers to compare quality data on up to three hospitals at a time (Appleby, USA Today, 5/21).
The $1.9 million campaign will involve full-page advertisements in 58 daily newspapers in 49 states (Freking, AP/Contra Costa Times, 5/20).
The ads will provide hospitals' scores for two of 26 quality measures on which facilities are rated: the percentage of patients who were given an antibiotic at least one hour before surgery and the percentage of patients who reported that they always received help when they requested it.
The ads also will include state averages for the two measures.
Acting CMS Administrator Kerry Weems said the ads are aimed at areas covered by about 1,000 of the nearly 4,000 hospitals included on the Web site.
Weems said that the campaign has the potential to reach up to 13 million people nationwide, adding, "With this set of ads, we want to drive people to the Web site so people know it's there and to make sure they know that even in their community there are differences in hospitals, differences in quality and this Web site is one tool they should use in choosing that" (Carey, CQ HealthBeat, 5/20). He said that the agency hopes the ads "drive [the] conversation" about quality "not just in households, but in communities and hospitals. There are some institutions that could improve" (USA Today, 5/21).
Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, said that public disclosure of the hospital data will ensure that the facilities do not cut corners to provide services. She said, "Patients are going to say, 'I didn't get the care I should have gotten'" (Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/20).