The CMS has responded to calls to eliminate patient satisfaction on pain management from Medicare’s value-based purchasing program…
The AHA was among several prominent healthcare associations that had called on the Obama administration to stop incorporating patients’ responses to pain-management questions in the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) in the value-based purchasing program. HCAHPS results are a significant factor in how hospitals fare under value-based purchasing, and providers have complained the program gives them a financial incentive to over-prescribe painkillers to keep patients happy.
The survey asks patients if they needed medicine for pain, how often their pain was well controlled and—of most concern to the healthcare industry—if the hospital staff did everything they could to help with the pain.
“Some stakeholders believe that the linkage of the pain management dimension questions to the Hospital VBP program payment incentives creates pressure on hospital staff to prescribe more opioids,” the CMS said in the proposed rule. The agency said removing the questions from the survey would “mitigate even the perception that there is financial pressure to overprescribe opioids.” …
If you were a doctor, which would you be more afraid of, CMS or the DEA? In other words, the opioid war has pretty much removed all financial “pressure” to overprescribe opioids. The pressures doctors are under now when it comes to opioid prescribing are from the DEA and insurance companies, not patient surveys.
To me, patient surveys are not important, because it doesn’t matter what I say on a patient survey, doctors aren’t going to treat my pain anyway. But with this amazing amount of pressure brought to bare against CMS for patient surveys — specifically regarding the treatment of pain — I wonder if I’m wrong. If maybe sometime in the future, chronic pain patients will be kicking themselves because they didn’t fight against this change. Who knows?