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Research: Improving HCAHPS Scores Can Reduce Readmissions

December 11, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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According to a recent research study from Press Ganey Associates, a South Bend, Ind.-based provider of in-house insight surveys, hospitals that have done better on patient experience of care measures, such as the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) value-based purchasing metrics, have lower patient readmission rates. The study’s authors say there is a strong link between low rates of readmissions and high HCAHPS scores.

Press Ganey says it compared hospitals’ readmission penalty data to their CMS Hospital Inpatient Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) scores, which measures HCAHPS survey results. The organization says it looked at more than 10,000 healthcare organizations. Overall, high HCAHPS performance (scores of 80-100) was associated with much-lower-than-average readmission penalties. Low performance (0-20) was associated with high readmission rates.

Both HCAHPS and readmissions are tied to reimbursement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This year, on Oct. 1, CMS began reducing Medicare payments for hospitals with high readmission rates. The penalty is set to increase over the next three years. Furthermore, CMS will also deduct Medicare payments for hospitals that have low HCAHPS scores.

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