News Briefs

CMS publishes quality survey tool

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has published a revised survey instrument and proposed administration instructions for the patient perceptions of care survey known as HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Plans).

The survey, which will become part of the hospital-led Quality Initiative, is intended to allow for an accurate comparison of patient satisfaction across hospitals.

As recommended by the Chicago-based American Hospital Association and others, the survey was shortened considerably - from 66 questions to 32, 24 of which will gauge patients’ perceptions of the hospital environment and care they received and eight will be used to determine demographics and patient mix.

Hospitals will be permitted to incorporate the survey into their current patient satisfaction survey by adding up to 30 questions following the 24 core HCAHPS questions and to use their current survey vendor to administer the survey.

AHA survey shows hospital use rising

More Americans turned to hospitals for care in 2002, according to findings from the Chicago-based American Hospital Association’s (AHA) latest Annual Survey of Hospitals.

The survey of more than 5,700 hospitals shows admissions at community hospitals rose by 664,691 in 2002. Inpatient days climbed by roughly 2.5 million, while the average length of stay held steady at 5.7 days. Emergency visits jumped by 3.9 million, and total outpatient visits rose by more than 17 million.

These statistics can be found in AHA’s Hospital Statistics 2004 Edition. Go to: www.ahastatistics.org, or call (800) 242-2626.