If you listened to the Monday morning news with your coffee, the “dry” story about Medicare’s new payment structure to hospitals may have slipped by you, especially if are not “in the industry” or do not have Medicare insurance. But this is a significant story, particularly when we consider the importance of taking an active role in understanding our healthcare.
Effective October 1st hospitals will be rewarded in dollars… or NOT… according to the outcome measures for 12 specific patient problems such as heart attacks, pneumonia and the use of antibiotics. The measures are designed to see if hospitals are using the best evidence in the care of their patients.
Patients’ perception of their care is now considered important enough to be included in the Medicare formula for reimbursing the hospital. This perception survey is called the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers (HCAPS) and accounts for 30% of the formula.
Patients have an opportunity to score 30 questions about their care. Areas such as the effectiveness of communication, instructions in medication, and management of pain are on the national radar screen.
Patients and families have a voice, if they choose to use it well. Equally important is the opportunity for all consumers to use the outcome measures and HCAPS results displayed on the Medicare website to inform themselves about the hospitals in their area. The 21st century patients have a
- Willingness to Learn
- Take an active role in shared decision-making
- Partner with the care team
You can learn more about comparing hospitals on the Medicare website http://www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov/
Lisa Sams MSN, RNC