Quality e-Newsletter
Intelligence Unit Special Reports Special Events Subscribe Sponsored Departments Follow Us

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn RSS

HCAHPS Scores Show Wide Variation

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, May 30, 2012

Other hospitals on the negative side of the scorecard include 88-bed Lehigh Regional Medical Center, in Lehigh Acres, FL and 146-bed St. Joseph's Hospital of Philadelphia. Of Only 35% of St. Joseph's patients and 39% of patients at Lehigh said they would definitely recommend the hospital to family and friends, with 28% and 26% saying they would probably or definitely not recommend their hospitals.

There's a huge gap between 98% and 35%.  HealthLeaders asked some of these hospitals to explain the difference.

Beverly Smith, Westlake Regional's patient representative, says she calls patients on the phone and speaks to them in person after they've been discharged. It's been her full time job for the last five years. She reads each question to each patient and notes their response on the form.

The reason Westlake gets such good responses, Smith says, "is we just have excellent doctors and nurses."

Cohen says that CMS does adjust for patient factors that might influence how someone may respond to a survey, such as education, age, and how the responder rates their own health status. And there is a correction for phone versus mailed surveys, because patients asked questions by a live human during a phone call are apparently less likely to give a negative response.

There is no adjustment for self-administering hospitals versus those who hire a vendor.  

"We feel we would get better responses doing these on a one-to-one" Smith says. Besides, she adds, Westlake "could not afford a vendor or a company (to do these surveys) at the time we started (doing them)," Smith says.

The hospital also is the biggest employer in community of 15,000 people, and Smith attends the same church as many town residents.

Smaller, specialty surgical hospitals tend to do well on the HCAHPS "would you recommend" question, especially if they are newer and physician-owned as many of them are.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Comments are moderated. Please be patient.

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.