Under the proposed regulations, 30% of a hospital's value based purchasing score will be weighted on patient experience based on the answers they give to eight survey questions.
Not only is 30% too high, but even 20% is unfair, says Vincent Fitts, associate vice president of informatics for the Greater New York Hospital Association.
"Wholly separate from the apparent regional bias in HCAHPS results and the fact that large urban hospitals generally fare worse, the current formula penalizes hospitals that treat a higher-than-average percentage of patients for whom English is a secondary language – even though they tend to express satisfaction with their care," Fitts says.
"We simply don’t think HCAHPS scores accurately reflect patient experience in the New York metropolitan area.”
The questions cover communication with doctors and nurses, responsiveness of hospital staff, pain management, communication about medicines, cleanliness and quietness of hospital environment, discharge information and overall rating of hospital.
I asked Nate Kaufman, a hospital analyst who flies around the country consulting with healthcare systems and physicians about the Affordable Care Act, what he thought about a "grumpiness differential."
He has a much different perspective. In his view, those hospital groups that are complaining doth protest way too much.