HCAHPS Scores Show Wide Variation
The hospital recently endured a 100-person staff layoff, and is struggling with employee morale. "We are still working with our nursing issues, trying to convey that the call bell is everybody's call bell and the call light is everybody's call light." Additionally, she says, "we've had some issues with our physicians, a lot of older physicians." St. Joseph's recently contracted with Drexel University to provide some University-based doctors in an effort to align with a large academic center.
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."
In response to an inquiry, Lehigh marketing director Diann Cimring replies: We are constantly striving to achieve the highest level of patient satisfaction, and have implemented processes and procedures to ensure that the patients receive the finest quality healthcare at Lehigh Regional Medical Center. However we are constantly measuring scores and processes in order to give our patients the best experience and to exceed their expectations."
In general, hospitals that scored poorly indicate that they have a harder road to climb because of their demographics. But while CMS spokeswoman Cohen acknowledges that smaller rural and specialty hospitals "tend to score more highly on HCAHPS compared to larger, urban and general hospitals" that's not a reason to give the hospitals a statistical break or correct the data to reflect that.
"These are hospital, not patient characteristics, it is not appropriate to adjust for these characteristics," she says. And besides, many hospitals that are poor and large and in urban areas do well on the HCAHPS, and likewise, some hospitals that are small and in rural communities do poorly.
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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