The value-based purchasing sweepstakes race is on. It's hospital against hospital in a national contest to see which acute care teams can please their patients the most on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey.
The prize is a chance to win back each facility's share of $850 million that will be deducted from Medicare's payments to 3,500 hospitals in FY 2013. That's 1% of each hospital's Diagnostic Related Group payment.
How patients answer 17 questions posed in Medicare's HCAHPS survey determines 30% of each hospital's score. The clock started ticking for patient stays on July 1, and will stop with discharges as of March 31, 2012.
How each hospital ranks will be publicly reported on HospitalCompare.gov, so not only will providers see how they ranked, but patients will see too.
Patient experience surveys can be tough, with responses varying according to types and geographic locations of hospitals, whether they are urban or rural, serve sicker or healthier patients, are overcrowded, and whether they have an expansive list of racial and ethnic populations which can make communication far more difficult.
Though the scorekeepers determining the winners and losers say they have adjusted for most variables, many providers remain concerned.