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Tying hospital payments to patient satisfaction

The Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2011

Hospitals are scrambling to improve customer service in advance of a change tying Medicare payments to higher scores on patient-satisfaction surveys, today's Informed Patient column reports. But improving patient satisfaction means engaging hospital staff in the effort — and changing hospital cultures that haven't traditionally focused on the patient as a customer. Hospitals are hiring consultants and service coaches to help, training employees to be more responsive, bringing in executives with experience in the hospitality industry, and even tying employee compensation to a hospital's performance on the satisfaction surveys, known as HCAHPS.