Rating systems are one of the most ubiquitous and easiest ways that consumers can understand quality of care. Yelp allows diners and shoppers to rate restaurants and stores; Amazon allows online shoppers to rate every kind of product, from books to mattresses to clothing to cleaning supplies; and when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services created its five-star rating system, health care providers were next in line to get the ranking treatment.

"The five-star rating system was implemented a few years back for skilled nursing facilities and hospices," notes Mike Staffieri, the chief operating officer for DaVita Kidney Care. "This is really an ongoing trend where CMS is trying to create transparency, and we've been pushing this for a long time.

"If you go online to book a hotel, you can see if the hotel has one, two, three, four or five stars," Staffieri continues. "It's easy for consumers to rate the quality of care."

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