New hospital star ratings are in and physician-owned hospitals stand above the competition. On April 16, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released summary star ratings based on patient satisfaction and experience in its HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) Survey for hospitals nationwide. 67% of the participating physician-owned hospitals received a 4- or 5-star rating.
“The numbers are astonishing but not surprising – physician-led healthcare delivers high-quality results,” stated Blake Curd, MD, president of Physician Hospitals of America (PHA), the nation’s leading association for physician-owned hospitals. Dr. Curd added, “When you couple patient satisfaction with CMS quality data, there is no doubt patients do much better when they are treated at a physician-owned hospital.”
CMS, along with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), developed the HCAHPS Survey, also known as Hospital CAHPS®, to provide a standardized survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients’ perspectives on hospital care. The HCAHPS Survey is administered to a random sample of patients continuously throughout the year.
Despite accounting for only 5% of all U.S. hospitals, physician-owned hospitals represented 84 of the 251 hospitals receiving 5-star ratings. This is not altogether unexpected given that hospitals with physician ownership comprised seven of the top 10 and 43 of the top 100 hospitals in the country in the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program – the CMS program that measures the quality of care at hospitals. It stands to reason that hospitals with the best quality of care will have the most satisfied patients.
“It is of the utmost importance that patients receive individualized and appropriate treatment in a hospital setting where they will receive the highest quality outcomes,” stated John Richardson, PHA director. Based on quality and satisfaction ratings, physician-owned hospitals can serve as the optimum environment for many patients who suffer when they are unable to access such a high level of quality care.
Ironically, physician-owned hospitals are banned from expanding their services to additional patients under the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Curd commented, “Inconsistently under-performing hospitals without physician ownership have no similar federal restrictions on expansion. This is not good for patients, not good for the long-term stability of Medicare, and not good for taxpayers.”
PHA is appealing to Congress to change existing law so that hospitals with physician ownership can once again expand to meet the growing demand for healthcare services in their communities.