Patient Satisfaction is Directly Linked to Hospital Reimbursements
No one wants to have to stay in the hospital overnight, but if you’ve ever had to you probably remember a few things: pain, the physicians and nurses who were trying to keep that pain tolerable, a call bell, and nurses checking on you, listening to your questions and explaining things in ways you understood. Hopefully, when it was time to go home the hospital staff made sure you had all the information and help you needed to avoid a relapse and readmission, along with written instructions to consult about symptoms, problems, and how to care for yourself. After your stay, maybe you were sent a survey in the mail a week or two after you were home. Did you fill out the survey and return it, or did you toss it in the trash can not wanting to be bothered?
Because of the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), hospital reimbursements are significantly impacted by HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) scores. HCAHPS is a hospital survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients' perceptions of their hospital experience. This means that patients can report and rate their hospital experiences, which provides valuable feedback to future patients and the hospital. It is believed that patient satisfaction will significantly define the future of healthcare in the United States.
At Holy Cross Hospital, we work hard to provide excellent patient care, and that HCAHPS survey is very important to us. It can impact any future experience you might have. This feedback is important because the survey results can provide invaluable information about the overall hospital experience for the patient. It helps us learn our strengths and weaknesses. It can also pinpoint areas of patient satisfaction success and those that need improvement, ultimately leading to improvement in overall patient satisfaction and the delivery of quality healthcare to our community.
We partner with Avatar, a company that conducts patient satisfaction surveys. Like many hospitals, we view patient satisfaction as a key tool in our quality improvement processes. In addition, the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services links part of a hospital’s payment to its performance on a set of quality measures. They also provide significant financial incentives for hospitals to score well in the HCAHPS survey. The program allows CMS to collect from hospitals up to 1% of their CMS reimbursement monies in 2013, and 0.25% from 2014 to 2017, and redistribute that money to different hospitals according to performance in 12 clinical process of care domains. The process of care domains include core measure indicators associated with heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, pneumonia and the Surgical Care Improvement Project and eight patient satisfaction dimensions (HCAHPS). Hospital reimbursement is determined by the clinical process of care scores, which account for 70% of the formula, and the HCAHPS scores, which carry a 30% weight. This means that the better we perform, the more money we are likely to receive.
The HCAHPS patient satisfaction program gives consumers an opportunity to provide CMS with information about the patient experience, and how well the facility performed in regard to pain control, promptness of care delivery, communication, discharge instructions, room and facility cleanliness, and whether the patients felt they were treated with courtesy and respect.
Over the last few years, Holy Cross Hospital administration and staff have worked hard to educate patients on the importance of completing the survey and returning it, as well as improving on the patient experience. Our scores have been steadily increasing, and we continue to work hard to improve more. But we cannot know if you were happy with your care or if we can improve your satisfaction unless you tell us. By completing the Avatar survey, sharing your feedback on how we’re doing, and offering suggestions for improvement you are not only helping us improve our scores, you help us become better health care providers.