HCAHPS Scores and Community Factors

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Abstract

The objective was to examine associations between patient experience, as measured by Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores, and the sociodemographic, cultural, and access-to-care factors of the surrounding community. Using an empty model, this study found that 27% of the variation in HCAHPS scores was at the level of the county in which the hospital was located. The county factors examined explained about half of this county-level variation. Among community factors most strongly associated with increased HCAHPS scores were higher numbers of primary care physicians per capita, fewer specialists per capita, and smaller percentages of African Americans and Hispanics in the county. A number of community factors beyond the hospitalization experience may influence HCAHPS scores. As HCAHPS gains importance as a measure of quality of care and is linked to higher payments over time, it will be essential to understand the possible effects of community factors.

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