Patient opinions to be linked to hospital pay

How was your hospital stay? Patient opinions are soon going to play a role in how Medicare pays hospitals, reports Jordan Rau of Kaiser Health News.

Linking hospital reimbursement levels to patient satisfaction is part of the federal health reform law, and the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is working out the details now. Consumer advocates argue that tying patient satisfaction to payment will lead to better care, but hospital officials warn that opinions don’t necessarily reflect care quality, Rau writes.

Some of the variation in patient satisfaction is regional, and some suggest that cultural factors play a role.

“Someone said, ‘Well, people from the East Coast are just grumpier,'” Edward Goodman, an executive at VHA Inc., a national alliance of nonprofit hospitals, told Rau. “In some cultures praise is not as predominant.”

To see how Connecticut patients rated their hospitals, click here. Patient survey results for individual hospitals are available at the federal government’s Hospital Compare website.