With plans to tie hospitals’ Medicare payments to patient satisfaction beginning next year, some hospitals are seeking advice from The Walt Disney Co., Phil Galewitz reports for Kasier Health News.

At least 25 hospitals have signed multi-year consulting agreements with the entertainment giant, and some are sending employees to Disney World for a firsthand look at the parks’ highly regarded customer service operations, Galewitz writes.

One Disney consultant with health care experience has advised hospitals to make employee name tags easier to read, redesign uniforms so patients can more easily tell what a person’s job is, and make clear which areas in the building are public so staff know when they will need to be particularly focused.

Beginning in October 2012, Medicare will withhold 1 percent of payments to hospitals and put the money in a pool for bonus money that will go to hospitals with high scores on measures including patient satisfaction.

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Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

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