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HCAHPS Scores Show Wide Variation

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, May 30, 2012

Westlake is one of about 100 hospitals around the country that self-administer their own surveys rather than hire vendor such as NRC Picker or Press Ganey, according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services spokeswoman Ellen Griffith Cohen. A hospital employee calls patients after their discharge, asks them survey questions and fills out the forms for them. Since CMS conducts oversight of the survey process from training to double checking response forms, self-administration shouldn't make a difference in the scores, she says.

The  hospital with the second highest score was 17-bed Surgical Hospital of Southwoods in Youngstown, OH, with 97% of patient responders saying they would definitely recommend it.

And 99-bed Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Oklahoma City, OK, was third, with 96% of respondents saying they would recommend it. Oklahoma Heart  tied with 32-bed Heart Hospital of Lafayette, LA.

On the other side of the scorecard for hospitals with 300 or more responses, patients at 326-bed Jackson Park Hospital in Chicago seem to be the least pleased with their care, with only 36% saying they would definitely recommend the hospital and 29% of patients saying they definitely would not or probably would not recommend.

Other survey responses from Jackson Park's patients were similarly negative.  For example:

  • 35% gave the hospital a high ranking of 9 or 10;
  • 53% said the room was always clean (24% said it was never or sometimes clean);
  • 52% and 68%, respectively, said nurses and doctors communicated well.
  • 55% said their pain was always well-controlled.
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2 comments on "HCAHPS Scores Show Wide Variation"


Linda Reiser (6/25/2012 at 3:57 PM)
I just read the article about HCAHPS which described the high and low scoring hospitals around the country. There was a quote which was a little disturbing. One of the rules surrounding HCAHPS says that hospitals should not in any way try to influence the scores. This includes using the language such as "always" which is the response we all want the patients to give! At Lehigh, a comment from CEO Joanie Jeannette is posted on the Lehigh's website: "We want to make sure that you are extremely satisfied with the care you receive. If at any time you are not satisfied with your care, please let us know. All of our staff is committed to achieving your standards of excellence. "Following your stay with us, you may receive a survey in the mail asking for your feedback. I hope you will take a few minutes to fill it out and let us know how we are doing. Again, it is both an honor and a privilege to serve you and we want to make sure we provide you and your family the very best of care... Always." We are told we should not use such language in order to be non-influential in the scoring. Does anyone else think this is influencing the responses unfairly?

Ardella Eagle (5/31/2012 at 9:51 AM)
As the CMMS swings over to using HCAHPS as a sliderule for payment reductions as suggested in the Affordable Care Act, you will see many of these 'demographically' challenged hospitals close down due to the inability to make ends meet. A very sad thing indeed. Using the general public as a measure on whether a provider should be paid is not a good idea. Pay for services rendered. Research if the service provided is being billed at a comprable rate and penalize the providers who are 'overcharging'. The current system of the fee schedule encourages physicians to bill the maximum allowed knowing that their fees will be reduced, then further cut due to contractual agreements.