Wednesday, April 7, 2010

CMS News: Now Allowing Patient-idendifying Data

Many HHA professionals that we have spoken with have expressed concern over the completely  anonymous nature of the HHCAHPS survey. The question that keeps coming up is, "How can I solve a patient-specific problem if the survey is anonymous?" 
Pinnacle Quality Insight and other vendors have brought this concern to CMS, and they have responded with a change to how it will be conducted, with a full article listed here. 

"Some Medicare-certified home health agencies... have asked their approved Home Health Care CAHPS Survey vendor to provide them with survey responses linked to their patients’ names so that they can respond to and address any specific needs that their patients report during the HHCAHPS survey.... "

"Survey vendors can share a respondent’s survey responses linked to his or her name with the client HHA only if the patient (hereafter referred to in this document as “the respondent) gives the survey vendor permission to do so."

"This means that survey vendors who have a client HHA that wishes to have access to identifying information that would link a respondent’s name to his or her survey responses must include the transition statement and question shown below in the survey instrument used with sample members selected from that HHA."

This represents an enormous opportunity for HHAs to use HHCAHPS for loyalty building with patients. When a complaint arises, simply addressing it right away can go a long way to diffuse a concern from becoming something more serious like a complaint to the state, or a lawsuit. 

Bear in mind, HHCAHPS can be just another expense to raise your blood pressure, OR you can treat it as the top-performing Health-Care companies opportunity to improve your service image and foster loyalty with clients. 

Craig Christiansen

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