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Patient Satisfaction in Value-based Purchasing: How Important Is It?

    Home health agencies need to start gearing up for the imminent 2023 performance year of the expanded Home Health Value-Based Purchasing (HHVBP) program by understanding the data sources and measures used in the calculation of performance scores and corresponding payment adjustments.

    While the OASIS and claims-based components are data-driven, the Home Health Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HHCAHPS) portion is about patient perception and counts for 30% of the overall VBP score. What constitutes patient perception is how patients feel after visits, which is hardly fact or evidence-based. Therefore, it is vital for home health agencies to ensure patient satisfaction.

    Here are 5 best practices that will help improve your overall survey HHCAHPS scores:

    1. Reach out to your patients.
      In addition to the mandatory follow-ups, agency management should consider going the extra mile to reach out to current clients. Ask for feedback, make sure they are satisfied with the services they are receiving, and address concerns before they are escalated to becoming negative reviews. Regular mini-surveys via telephone, email, or physical forms can also contribute to gathering insights on ways to improve. 
    1. Work with a survey contractor that has a high survey response rate.
      Having your survey drive higher-than-average survey responses is vital to decreasing the weight of one or two negative responses. For many smaller agencies, this supposedly low number can significantly sway their overall score.
    1. Review patients’ feedback on the surveys.
      When clients take the time to write their comments, they either have a very negative experience or a very positive one. Hence, it is critical to review these and address them appropriately. Moreover, make sure that your survey vendor provides verbatim accounts of patient and family feedback in their reports. 
    1. Discuss the report with your staff.
      Hold quarterly company-wide meetings with administrators and clinicians to review the survey reports. Take it as an opportunity to identify areas of improvement and reinforce the importance of taking negative comments and ratings seriously.
    1. Gather the necessary comparative data.
      In the expanded Model, agencies are assigned to either a nationwide larger-volume cohort or a nationwide smaller-volume cohort to group agencies that are of similar size and are more likely to receive scores on the same set of measures for purposes of setting benchmarks and achievement thresholds and determining payment adjustments. To ensure success, home health agencies need to understand their place within their national cohort on top of their own survey ratings. It is all about the actual proximity of scores, hence the need to identify actual performance ranking in relation to other agencies.

    Accountability and Constant Improvement

    Aside from elevating the accuracy of your OASIS and claims data through clinician education and a strong QA review program, improving the HHCAHPS rating scores is also a crucial factor in earning incentive opportunities from the value-based purchasing program. Not only does the HHCAHPS survey make up 30% of the VBP score, but it also provides meaningful and useful information that will help improve systems and operations. More importantly, it holds providers accountable for their services and reinforces the need to deliver quality patient care.