Patients Rank Iowa Hospitals First in National Survey
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Patients Rank Iowa Hospitals First in National Survey

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Patients Rank Iowa Hospitals First in National Survey

U.S. Government Asks about Hospital Environment, Communication


DES MOINES - Patients responding to a U.S. government survey have made Iowa hospitals first in the nation.

The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Survey, administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the first national, standardized, publicly reported survey of patients' perspectives of hospital care.

A state-by-state summary of the latest HCAHPS results shows Iowa tied for first with two other states for overall hospital rating. Nearly three out four patients gave Iowa hospitals the highest possible rating (either a "9" or "10" on a 10-point scale). Kansas and Nebraska hospitals received the same overall score.

In addition to giving an overall rating, surveyed patients also responded to nine other aspects of their hospital experience, including communication with physicians and nurses, responsiveness of the hospital staff, cleanliness, quietness, pain management, communication about medicine and discharge information. In nine out of these 10 ratings, Iowa's score was no lower than fifth-highest (Iowa ranked eighth for hospital quietness).

"The HCAHPS results show that it is a priority at Iowa hospitals to make every patient comfortable and well informed about their care," said Kirk Norris, president and CEO of the Iowa Hospital Association. "A positive, supportive environment for patients is vital to the high-quality care that is found throughout Iowa hospitals."

Hospitals that are paid by Medicare under the Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) are required to participate in the HCAHPS survey. Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), which are small facilities and not part of IPPS, have the option of participating. Of Iowa's 118 hospitals, 72 participate in HCAHPS and several of those are among the state's 82 CAHs.

The most current HCAHPS Survey is based on patients discharged between July 2010 and June 2011. The first public reporting of HCAHPS results in March 2008 included 2,521 hospitals and 1.1 million completed surveys; the spring 2012 public reporting entailed 3,851 hospitals and 2.8 million completed surveys.

HCAHPS data is used on the federal Hospital Compare website (www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov), where consumers can see information about hospital quality and compare results for individual hospitals.

The Iowa Hospital Association is a voluntary membership organization representing hospital and health system interests to business, government and consumer audiences. All of Iowa's 118 community hospitals are IHA members.