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ASPMN Colorado Chapter

Press Ganey response to CMS proposed changes to hospital VBP program (those 'pain' survey questions)

Posted over 2 years ago by Betsy Woolf

On July 6, CMS released a proposal to remove the Pain Management dimension from the Hospital Value Based Purchasing (VBP) program, beginning with the 2018 fiscal year payment and based on discharges from calendar year 2016. Although the Pain Management dimension will be removed from the payment calculation, CMS has not proposed removing the three questions from the HCAHPS survey, which you can still use to gather feedback from patients.

For the past two years, Press Ganey has been an active participant in the ongoing dialogue at CMS on this topic. Per CMS' goals, removing the pain management questions from VBP calculations will eliminate any perception that clinicians may feel financial pressure to overprescribe pain medications, despite there being no empirical evidence of this effect. We support CMS' proposal which eliminates the debate around the impact of these questions and allows us to focus on the important work of advancing more patient-centered care.

A final decision on the proposal is expected in November, and if it is approved, there are a few relevant points that we'd like to clarify with respect to your HCAHPS surveying with Press Ganey:

     Your HCAHPS survey itself will not change. CMS will continue to include and collect data on the three pain management questions that are currently in the HCAHPS survey. However, for the purposes of VBP calculations, those three questions will be suppressed.

     New pain management questions are currently being developed. CMS continues to believe that pain control is an important aspect to delivering quality care. Press Ganey has provided input to CMS on the revised questions and will be ready to support them when they are put into effect.

     Your online reports and summary reports will be unaffected. You will experience no change to your current reports should this proposed change be approved.

Press Ganey shares CMS' position that pain control is an appropriate part of patient care and that measuring it is an important aspect of our work. We will stay closely involved in the objective to align the measurement of pain control for patients with good clinical practice.

If you have any additional questions regarding the proposed change and how it may affect your organization, please contact your account manager.


Jodie Cunningham VP, Public Reporting & Policy