"It's a ridiculous argument," he says. "When Toyota is giving out customer satisfaction bonuses to auto dealerships around the country, do you think they give a better break to the guys in Kansas? No.
"Maybe the folks in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania just need to work harder," he says. "It's about time that if people in hospitals don't satisfy patients, and don't provide the best science in medicine to those patients, they should have some sort of consequence."
Jason Rau, president of NRC Picker in Lincoln, NE, another healthcare survey company similar to Press Ganey with about 700 hospitals, says he can't comment on whether a 30% weight is fair across the country, but he acknowledges that there are regional differences in the way patients answer questions. But whether it makes that much of a difference is unclear.
Besides, he says, CMS is already making some demographic and patient mix adjustments in how value based purchasing scores are weighted. It bears some looking into, he says. But "in the end, maybe services provided really are different."
Jessica Kennedy, also of NRC Picker, posted this comment to our Monday story about the hospitals' concern.
"This article may be asking the wrong question," Kennedy wrote.
"Maybe the experience of care patients have is different depending on what institution they're in or where they live. So perhaps this is not a question of patients being grumpy... Perhaps it is a question that we in healthcare are not equally committed or able to provide patient experiences that meet the expectations of our patients and their families."