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Patient Satisfaction and the Affordable Care Act

KeyBridge Medical Revenue Management Patient Satisfaction healthcareWith the goal of earning higher reimbursements for treating patients, healthcare providers are upgrading their services to boost patient satisfaction. This is one key provision under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

A new survey shows two percent of primary care physicians’ compensation is based on “patient satisfaction metrics,” while 1 percent of specialist physician compensation is based on these measures. It’s the first time patient satisfaction scores were part of an annual compensation report from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

Medicare is also speeding up plans to link part of doctors’ pay to the quality of their care. The changes would affect nearly 500,000 physicians working in groups. The federal health law requires large physician groups to start getting bonuses or penalties based on their performance by 2015, and all doctors who take Medicare patients will be part of the program by 2017. Large physician groups – those with 100 or more doctors, nurses, social workers or other health professionals – would gain or lose as much as 1 percent of their pay beginning in 2015. Under draft regulations that Medicare released recently, those incentives would double to 2 percent the following year.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, pay-for-performance will tie hospital payments to consumer satisfaction by measuring responses to a questionnaire that surveys how well hospitals serve their patients. Part of the reimbursement cuts for hospitals taking on Medicare patients — a rate cut of one percent, which increases to two percent by 2017 — will be redistributed to high-performing hospitals that meet certain benchmarks in procedures and score well on the patient questionnaire. Over the next year, nearly $1 billion in hospital payments will be based in part on patient satisfaction, determined by the 27-question government survey administered to patients. Hospitals with high scores will get a bonus payment. Those with low scores will lose money.

Survey questions include: “How often did doctors treat you with courtesy and respect?” and “How often were your room and bathroom kept clean?” It asks hospital patients to rate their stay on a scale of zero to 10.

High-performing hospitals will be rewarded with a Medicare “bonus” while low-performing hospitals will receive a reimbursement rate cut. Since hospitals are far more in control of procedural metrics than patient-satisfaction ones, providers are making sure they do everything they can to give patients personal attention – and a satisfactory hospital visit.

The new payment rate combines hospitals’ patient-satisfaction scores with a measure of whether hospitals follow a dozen procedural metrics for treating ailments. Getting high marks from patients has become a priority for hospitals nationwide. Because of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare will start taking patient satisfaction into account when reimbursing hospitals. Unsatisfied patients will mean reduced revenue for hospitals, which is another challenge for those who are already facing empty beds because of the economic slowdown and pressure from insurers to hold down costs. Medicare’s new rule puts hospitals in competition to best satisfy patients; those with the best scores will receive more money.

Patient satisfaction. We understand the vital part it plays in healthcare reimbursement. That’s why we measure our success by asking every patient for their honest feedback using our proprietary consumer satisfaction survey. Our survey results show that KeyBridge is the industry leader in patient satisfaction! Contact us – the leaders in healthcare revenue cycle management and patient satisfaction – to increase your revenue, streamline your accounts receivable process and control your costs, all while preserving valued patient relationships.

Patient satisfaction: It’s our key metric!

KeyBridge Medical Revenue Management Patient Satisfaction healthcare

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