Hospital HCAHPS Scores Beat Expectations

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , February 3, 2012

Extrapolated to the 36.9 million patients discharged for the 12 month period, that would mean nearly 500,000 more patients would "definitely recommend" the hospital that provided them care compared with the prior 12-month period, Press Ganey officials said in a media statement.

Similar improvements were seen in various categories of the HCAHPS survey responses, Mylod says.

Asked what hospitals have been doing to improve, Mylod said that in general, hospitals that show solid improvement aren't just training staff on ways to do better. They are following up, rounding with patients and staff, called "manager rounding," to watch implementation.

Sometimes they are speaking with patients in their rooms privately to ask if they felt they got the information they needed or asked for, and, for example, whether their pain issues were addressed.

Of course, the fact that the group of hospitals in the aggregate improved their VBP scores does not mean each will win back its share of the $850 million, 30% of which rewards hospitals with higher patient experience scores or which show significant improvement.

Mylod gave this example: "When you're out in the woods with your friends and you're chased by a bear, you don't have to run faster than the bear.  You just have to run faster than your friends."

This Press Ganey sample did not examine regional differences, or spotlight any hospitals specifically for their high or low scores.  That will come when the results are posted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Hospital Compare. The first VBP scoring period ends March 31.

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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2 comments on "Hospital HCAHPS Scores Beat Expectations"

Anthony Cirillo (2/3/2012 at 1:47 PM)
Unfortunately chasing scores does not necessarily mean improving patient experience. And there is distinctly two camps evolving now that VBP is here. Those who systemically address patient experience and those that resort to customer service tactics to make immediate but not lasting improvements.

R Atkinson (2/3/2012 at 11:35 AM)
This is great news, however that particular question that patients are asked is not figured into the equation for Value Based Purchasing Points. It is all the other questions that affect the score and that one is omitted in the final analysis. So it is curious as to why Press-Ganey is focusing on the results of that particular question for HCAHPS.




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