March/April 2007

Quality Transparency Extends to Patient Perceptions of Care

As part of its continued focus on public reporting of hospital data to support informed consumer choice, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has introduced a standardized national survey on patient perception of care. The survey process, called the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS), began in January 2006. Public reporting of data from the initial wave of participating hospitals will begin in late 2007. “Public reporting of patient experiences is consistent with Catholic Health Initiatives’ focus on accountability, quality transparency and building public trust,” said Susan Allmond, director of customer loyalty measurement for Catholic Health Initiatives. Though participation in HCAHPS is voluntary, CMS recently announced that participation will be linked to the annual payment update (APU) for acute care hospitals that provide overnight inpatient stays. Hospitals that begin to participate by July 2007 will be eligible for full market basket reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid services. Catholic Health Initiatives formed a work group in September 2006 to integrate required HCAHPS survey questions into the system’s ongoing patient satisfaction measurements. The work group, led by Allmond, is modifying the survey tools used for all types of patients within Catholic Health Initiatives. The group includes representatives from 20 Catholic Health Initiatives hospitals, national staff members and staff members from. HealthStream (formerly The Jackson Organization), Catholic Health Initiatives’ provider of customer satisfaction measurement. The work group is also planning a series of educational offerings, including a Webinar (Web-based seminar) during April that will focus on the rollout of HCAHPS within Catholic Health Initiatives. A second Webinar, to be held in fall 2007, will provide education on data interpretation and reporting. Although data collection will begin in July 2007, public reporting of data from Catholic Health Initiatives hospitals won’t begin until late 2008. Real-time satisfaction survey data will continue to be accessible to market-based organizations via HealthStream’s Web site. To help disseminate basic information about HCAHPS, a collaborative community is accessible via Catholic Health Initiatives’ intranet, Inside CHI. To see the CMS survey tool, an expanded accelerator survey tool developed for use by Catholic Health Initiatives facilities, educational tools and more, visit Inside CHI Communities, For more information about implementation of HCAHPS within Catholic Health Initiatives, contact Susan Allmond at