Better Care Together
Understanding the importance of Medicare Stars
What You Need to Know about Medicare Stars
- Quality Metrics Categories and How They are Measured
Quality metrics categories
Medicare Advantage health plans are rated on how well they perform in the following five categories. The 50+ quality metrics are divided into the following categories:
- Category 1: Staying healthy. Evaluates how often members receive screening tests, vaccines, checkups, and other preventive services to help them stay healthy.
- Category 2: Managing chronic (long-term) conditions. Evaluates how effectively health plans help members manage certain conditions, and receive recommended tests and treatments, with a focus on diabetes and medication management.
- Category 3: Member satisfaction. Evaluates the member experience with their health plan and how they feel about the quality of care they receive from the health plan and their providers.
- Category 4: Customer service. Evaluates how responsive and helpful the plan’s customer service is and the accuracy of information given to members.
- Category 5: Pharmacy services. Evaluates customer service, member complaints, the member experience, drug safety and the accuracy of pricing.
A Plan’s star ratings are ranked 1- 5 in each category, then used to determine the plan‘s overall score:
- ***** Excellent performance (Green Stars)
- **** Above average performance (Maroon Stars)
- *** Average performance (Orange Stars)
- ** Below average performance (Purple Stars)
- * Poor performance (Red Star)
How are the categories measured?
The star rating measures each Medicare Advantage plan’s performance in 50+ measures consisting of:
- Clinical quality standards (Green)
- Member satisfaction (Blue)
- Health plan administrative performance (Red)
- Compliance with CMS operational standards (Orange)
The data sources used to create the star ratings include:
- Clinical quality standards
- Health Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®)
- Pharmacy Data (Prescription Drug Event (PDE))
- Health Outcomes Survey (HOS)
- Member satisfaction
- Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems ( CAHPS®)
- Member Complaint Tracking
- Grievance and Appeals
- Administrative performance and compliance standards
- CMS Audits
- Pharmacy (Part D) Data Integrity
- Call Center Performance
- What Florida Blue is Doing to Maintain or Improve Star Ratings
Our main goal is to help our members maintain and improve their health outcomes and effectively manage long-term conditions. We are working to maintain and improve our star ratings in a number of ways including:
- Use a dedicated team focused on improving our star ratings for the measures that have not achieved the highest possible scores. We continually evaluate the star ratings and the individual measures that comprise them.
- Work with Care Management, Healthcare Quality, and our network providers to help our members stay healthy by evaluating how often members receive screenings, vaccines, checkups, and other preventive services. Offer incentives to providers where they are rewarded for their performance based on a number of Quality (HEDIS/Star) measures.
- How You (the provider) Can Help Improve Star Ratings
It’s more important than ever that we work with you to achieve 4+ Star ratings. Doing so not only means we are achieving positive performance and member’ health outcomes, it also means lower costs and enhanced benefits for members.
To get to where we need to be requires focused attention on mastering all the right HEDIS®, pharmacy, and CAHPS® experience measures. We will continue to work with our Florida Blue providers, our BlueMedicareSM members, network pharmacies, and related vendors to ensure that evidence-based care is provided as assessed through star ratings measures.
We count on you and appreciate your willingness to collaborate with us to share information, collect medical records, and engage your patients in obtaining preventive screenings and managing their chronic conditions. In return, we want to be able to provide you with clinical resources, financial incentives, and practice-based support to help us improve health outcomes and achieve 4+ Star ratings.
Opportunities for you (the provider) to help us achieve our targeted and health outcomes include:
- Increase the number of BlueMedicare members/patients who receive timely preventive tests and screenings (e.g., wellness visits, breast cancer screening, colorectal screening, flu vaccine, BMI assessment)
- Improve management of chronic conditions:
- Track hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) tests for diabetic members and adjust therapy as needed to achieve a HbA1c of less than 9.
- Ensure your patients with diabetes receive their retinal eye exams. Have you received and reviewed the results and documented this in your records?
- Perform annual nephropathy screenings to identify potential kidney complications by doing a urine analysis, urine micro albumin test, or having your patient on an ACE Inhibitor or ARB.
- Optimize the anti-hypertensive medications in your patients with hypertension. If their BP is elevated, continue to treat and monitor until it comes down to the normal range.
- Ensure positive health care experiences and outcomes for BlueMedicare patients:
- Ensure that members discharged from the hospital are scheduled to see a Primary Care Physician (PCP) within 7-10 days of discharge to prevent possible readmissions.
- Transitions from care settings should be closely monitored and coordinated through the PCP practices to ensure the best health outcomes.
- Does your access model support patients needing urgent care during and after-hours? Are members getting care coordination services from their providers (i.e., follow-up appointments, tests, referrals to specialists)?
- Safeguard satisfaction levels for BlueMedicare patients:
- Refer all member complaints about Florida Blue directly to the health plan for timely resolution.
- Make customer service the highest priority within your practice setting.
- Address members’ mental and physical health during the office visit.
- Ensure BlueMedicare patients know the importance of taking their medications to maximize the benefits of their treatment:
- Assist members with their medication adherence goals to support the treatment of diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol control.
- Help to identify barriers to adherence.
- Encourage members with multiple conditions and medications to participate in our Pharmacist-led program for Medication Therapy Management (MTM). If a pharmacist contacts you about recommendations as a result of a MTM review, please review the suggested recommendations.
- Ensure members that are discharged from the hospital or skilled facilities have their current medications reconciled against their discharge medications within 30 days of discharge.
- CMS Surveys Used to Measure Members’ Experiences
CMS develops and administers many different patient experience surveys. Surveys ask patients about their experiences with, and ratings of, their health care providers and plans, including hospitals, doctors, drug plans, and others.
The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) survey is a mandated regulatory survey sent to a select number of Medicare members annually. CAHPS results are an integral part of the CMS Star ratings. CAHPS collects information on consumers’ experiences with their health plan, personal doctor, specialists, and health care in general and is used for CMS Star ratings. It has become the national standard for measuring and reporting on consumers’ experiences with their health plans.
The Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (HOS), utilized for CMS Star ratings, is a patient-reported outcomes measure used in Medicare managed care. According to CMS, the goal of the HOS program is to gather valid and reliable clinically meaningful data that have many uses, such as targeting quality improvement activities and resources; monitoring health plan performance and rewarding top-performing health plans; helping the Medicare-covered make informed health care choices; and advancing the science of functional health outcomes.
Provider Quality Incentive Programs
- primary care providers
Florida Blue offers a Provider Quality Bonus Program to our BlueMedicare HMO network Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) who care for our Medicare Advantage members. Our bonus program is tied to initiatives to support our Medicare Stars improvement program. PCPs may have the opportunity to earn:
- A monthly bonus for closing gaps on specified measures and/or
- An annual bonus for reaching a specified Stars quality rating.
PCP’s with a designated number of our Medicare Advantage members in their care on December 31 of the measurement year are eligible for the annual bonus. Those who care for a minimum of one member are eligible for the monthly bonus.
Find More Information
For additional details about our Medicare Provider Quality Bonus Program (e.g., eligibility, specified measures, weights, payment scale and schedule, and more) visit the Florida Blue Passport web portal at www.availity.com. If you would like to register for an account with Availity, visit Availity.com.
- Member Incentives
Identifying Patients’ Care Gaps
Care Gap Reminders
Make sure your patients receive their recommended care including annual and periodic preventive screenings in a timely manner.
In Availity, you will see important patient care reminders when checking our members’ eligibility for care and services. Care reminders are based on clinical and administration information1 previously sent to us.
1 Information may not always be complete or accurate. Care reminders are never a substitute for professional judgement.
Quality & Efficiency Reporting Portal Tool (QERP)
The Quality & Efficiency Reporting Portal (QERP), located in Availity under Florida Blue’s Payer Spaces, allows primary care physician practices a way to compile data, identify cost, quality, and utilization and administration improvement opportunities. It is important for practices to review this information regularly as it impacts their patient population, incentive opportunities for closing patient care gaps, and more.
Utilization of the QERP tool is aligned to participation in the Medicare Advantage network and BlueMedicare Provider Quality Bonus program.
For QERP educational training, contact your network manager.
Member At-Home Care Closure Options
Convenient Bone Density Screening Options for BlueMedicare Members
To assist our members, your patients, in achieving better overall health outcomes we're offering our BlueMedicareSM (Medicare Advantage) female members choices to help them complete their bone density screening (bone mineral density or BMD test). Members who need this screening and meet the requirements for the Osteoporosis HEDIS Stars measure are offered two convenient options for receiving a bone density screening for no additional charge. Options include:
- DEXA Scan (Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) – This screening, available from our contracted vendor, Ingenios Health, is conveniently coducted in our member's home. Eligible patients may be contacted directly to schedule an >in-home bone density screening.
- QUS (Quantitative Ultrasound) – Bone Density screening is now available to patients at the following four Florida Blue Center locations:
285 N. Cattlemen Rd
Sarasota, FL 34243
(941) 308-2042Fort Myers Area
8041 Plaze del Lago Drive
Estero, FL 33928
Palm Beach Area
1501 North Congress Ave.
Boynton Beach, FL 33426
(561) 374-6200Fort Lauderdale Area
1970 Sawgrass Mills Circle
Sunrise, FL 33323
- A member may make an appointment for the QUS screening by calling one of the above Florida Blue Centers, Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sat 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
If you have a BlueMedicare patient with a bone density screening care gap, it is likely you'll receive a copy of their test results since we're asking our members who test to provide us with their provider information so we may share the results with them.
When your patient closes this gap, you will receive the applicable monthly provider quality bonus and/or points toward your annual provider quality bonus if you qualify for the BlueMedicare Provider Quality Bonus Program. Patients may also receive rewards if they qualify for our HealthyBlue Rewards Program.
Thanks for encouraging your BlueMedicare patients with this care gap to make an appointment today!
Florida Blue Centers - Care Closure Options
Your patients count on you for the care they need to stay healthy. Sometimes it can be challenging for patients to keep multiple appointments or find transportation to your practice or facility for their annual and periodic preventive screenings and services.
Because we know convenience is important, we offer HealthyBlue Day events at area Florida Blue Centers for our Medicare Advantage members to receive these types of screenings and services. Members with one or more care gaps and live within a close proximity to one of our Florida Blue Centers are candidates for this care option. Screening and service offerings vary by location and are typically held in the second half of the year as needed.
Patients may be offered a variety of screenings and services* such as:
- Blood pressure check
- BMI screening
- Flu shot
- Breast cancer screening
- Bone density screening
- Diabetic retinal eye exam*
- Diabetic urine protein test
- Diabetic A1c test
- Medication Therapy Management
- On-site nurses and health coaches with expert health and wellness Information
Patients can earn member rewards for eligible care. Similarly, primary care providers who qualify for the BlueMedicare Provider Quality Bonus can earn dollars when their patients close certain gaps.
To learn more about these events to share with your patients, contact email@example.com for more information.
Diabetic Retinopathy Screenings*
Diabetic retinal exams can detect diabetic retinopathy and lower the risk of vision loss for patients diagnosed with diabetes.
A vision vendor we trust conducts exams at our Florida Blue Center locations during the latter part of the year as needed. To learn more about these events to share with your patients, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Mobile Care Gap Closure Options
Diabetic Retinopathy Screenings* at Your Door
Diabetic retinal exams (DRE) can detect diabetic retinopathy and lower the risk of vision loss for patients diagnosed with diabetes.
If you have 10 or more patients with a DRE care gap, a vision vendor we trust can come to your office and conduct mobile retinal eye screening. Just schedule our members to come to your office and they will receive the screening. There is no cost to you or the member. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Provider & Member Communications
- Bulletins and FAQs
- BlueMedicare HMO & PPO Members Invited to HealthyBlue Day Care Events, March 2018
- Ensuring BlueMedicare Patients' Colorectal Cancer Screening Care Gaps are Closed, November 2017
- Attn: Providers w/BlueMedicare Patients Who Have a Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Care Gap, November 2017
- Colorectal Cancer Screening Kits for BlueMedicare Members, October 2017
- Cologuard No Authorization Required Bulletin, October 2017
- Cologuard FAQs, October 2017
- Enrollment & Benefits Care Reminders in Availity, September 2017
- Colorectal Cancer Screening Kits for BlueMedicare Members, July 2017
- Attestation Name Change, July 2017
- Convenient Bone Density Screening Options for BlueMedicare Patients, April 2017
- Cologuard Screening Now Covered for BlueMedicare Patients, February 2017
- BlueMedicare Member Outreach to Completion of Health Care Services by Year-End, November 2016
- Attn: Medicare Advantage HMO Primary Care Physicians and PPO Physicians, Outreach to Help Patients Improve Health, October 2016
- BlueMedicare Member Rewards Program, September 2016
- BlueMedicare-covered Patients to Receive Colorectal Cancer Screening Kits, September 2016
- BlueMedicare Members Encouraged to have Colorectal and Breast Screening Exams, August 2016
- What Are CMS Stars Measures? August 2016
- Med Adv Coding for First Med and Annual Wellness Visits Bulletin, July 2016
- BlueMedicare Annual Wellness Visit Outreach, June 2016
- HEDIS 2017 Medicare Stars Quick Cue Sheet, June 2016
- Addressing Sensitive Topics with BlueMedicare-covered Patients, March 2016
- Attention PCPs: Comprehensive Quality & Risk Program for Florida Blue Medicare Advantage and/or Qualified Health Plan Patients, December 2016
HEDIS Stars Measures & Reference Materials
- HEDIS Stars Measures Tip Sheets
- Blood Pressure: Controlling Blood Pressure, January 2017
- Body Mass Index: Adult BMI Assessment, January 2017
- Breast Cancer Screening, April 2018
- Cardiovascular Disease: Statin Use in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease (SPC), April 2018
- Care for Older Adults (COA), May 2018
- Colorectal Cancer Screening (COL), May 2017
- Diabetes: Comprehensive Diabetes Care, July 2016
- Diabetes Care Retinal Exam (DRE), October 2017
- Diabetes: Statin Use in Persons with Diabetes (SUPD) PQA Measure, July 2018
- Medication Reconciliation Post-Discharge (MRP), May 2018
- Osteoporosis Management in Women (OMW), April 2018
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (ART): Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug Therapy, March 2017
- Statin Use in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease (SPC), April 2018
- Statin Use in Persons with Diabetes (SUPD) PQA Measure, July 2018
- Transitions of Care (TRC), May 2018