By Debbie Robins

In 2013, the Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin paying hospitals for care based on two components – compliance with Core Measure requirements and patient satisfaction. This approach is known as “value-based purchasing” or “pay for performance” (P4P). Basically, the better your hospital scores in these two areas, the higher your reimbursement will be. Hospitals that don’t perform well risk losing millions of dollars in Medicare payments.

Shands at the University of Florida currently has good compliance with Core Measures. We provide care consistent with the recommended guidelines for managing patients with heart failure, pneumonia, preventing surgical site infections and acute myocardial infarction. While Shands at UF’s performance is consistent with other academic medical centers, efforts are being led by our board of directors Quality Committee and Patient Safety & Evaluation Committee to improve this score and related patient outcomes.

Patient satisfaction scores are determined by conducting interviews with 300 discharged patients annually. Questions are asked during a telephone survey following discharge. The survey instrument used is known as the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, or HCAHPS. Survey questions focus on nine domains, which include:

  • Nursing communication
  • Physician communication
  • Pain management
  • Communication about medications
  • Cleanliness of the hospital environment
  • Quietness of the hospital environment
  • Responsiveness of hospital staff
  • Discharge information
  • Overall satisfaction

Professional Research Consultants (PRC) is the vendor that conducts the patient interviews on behalf of Shands at UF. The most recent reporting period, which ended in March 2010, reveals we have opportunities to improve the patient experience. Improvement in key areas will help us meet our patients’ needs and expectations. Making rapid changes to improve will require a renewed commitment from everyone on the healthcare team to ensure we provide world-class services with caring and compassion. These efforts will call for active involvement of hospital staff and physicians to make sure we are moving in the right direction.

Visit the HCAHPS website for more information.