Do Hospital-Acquired Condition Scores Correlate With Patients' Perspectives of Care?

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Abstract

Beginning in fiscal year 2015, the federal Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program requires the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to reduce payments by 1% for hospitals in the top quartile of risk-adjusted national HAC scores. The HAC penalty underscores the need for hospitals to become increasingly quality- and safety-focused, which could negatively affect their performance on patient satisfaction with care, another key performance metric tied to reimbursement. Using publicly available data through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Hospital Compare program, we assessed the correlation between preliminary HAC scores and patients' perspectives of care, as measured by the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey. Higher quality of care (lower HAC score) was modestly associated with a better patient experience (r = −0.090, P < .001). Additional research is needed to ensure that national policy efforts are not working at cross purposes and there need not be a trade-off between delivering high quality of care and patient satisfaction.

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