By Kora Behrens, Clinical Nurse Manager, Medical Solutions
“If I had a nickel for every time I heard the term ‘HCAHPS scores’ when talking about healthcare, I would be rich.”
Do you find this statement to be true? Do you even know what HCAHPS stands for? I mean, let’s be honest for a minute, if you have not heard the term HCAHPS scores while working on a travel contract, then you might be living under a rock!
What Does HCAHPS Stand For?
The term “HCAHPS” stands for Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems. This survey and assessment has become so important for hospitals all around the country because they drive reimbursement. Not only that, but they have a massive impact on a hospital’s reputation and the HCAHPS survey gives patients a chance to be heard. It is important for all nurses to have a deep understanding of what HCAHPS scores are, what they tell us, and how they impact your employment as a travel nurse. Let’s investigate the significance that HCAHPS scores has on your future and the future state of healthcare in the United States.
What Does The HCAHPS Survey Cover?
The U.S. government and The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid mandates this patient satisfaction survey. The results are publicly reported on the internet for all to see and excellent survey results and hospital performance keeps the hospitals financially stable. The survey addresses the 10 HCAHPS measures including questions on nurse communication, doctor communication, responsiveness of hospital staff, pain management, communication about medicines, discharge information, cleanliness of hospital environment, quietness of hospital environment, overall rating of hospital, and willingness to recommend hospital.
The survey results are reported quarterly and there are four modes of administration to patients including mail, telephone, mail with telephone follow-up, and interactive voice response. About 4,000 hospitals participate in HCAHPS and over three million patients complete the survey each year.
The HCAHPS survey is also employed in the Hospital Value Based Purchasing Program as one of the measures that a hospital is scored on. It is scored within the patient care experience along with the other measures including clinical care, efficiency and cost reduction, and patient safety. The patient care experience score is calculated into the hospital’s Total Performance Score (TPS). This TPS score is correlated with the reimbursement that a hospital receives for the care they provide.
All of this is important to know as a Traveler because as our healthcare moves more towards this model of care, Travelers must understand the impact they have on these scores while on assignment. More and more facilities are hiring candidates based on their understanding of HCAHPS and VBP because their understanding converts to quality care. It is important that you know the implications of your care and the consequences that it has on the hospital and its ability to continue to provide healthcare to the people around you. It is your responsibility to understand our healthcare system and to be a change agent for these programs, and I encourage you to be an advocate for strong performance on all fronts within each healthcare organization!