In the health reform sweepstakes to retrieve their share of $850 million in federal funds, hospitals have been scurrying to improve their patient experience scores under Medicare's value-based purchasing rules.
Now, according to the latest survey results, their efforts are paying off.
For discharges in July, 2011, the month scoring began, patients' responses were 0.7 % better than they were in June, according to Press Ganey Associates, which distributes and analyzes patient responses to the 27 Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey.
That was double what Press Ganey expected, says Deirdre Mylod, Press Ganey's vice president, improvement services.
The pleasant surprise was based on the 0.7 % increase in how many patients, when asked the VBP survey question "Using any number from 0-10 where 0 is the worst hospital possible and 10 is the best hospital possible, what number would you use to rate this hospital during your stay?" gave the hospital a score of 9 or 10.
"It was exciting to us because it says that hospitals were gearing up, and have acknowledged, that in July at the beginning of the performance period, they knew they needed to maximize their performance in order to earn as much of their money back (as possible) under value based purchasing," Mylod said.