Since hospitals have had to publicly report their patient experience ratings, the gap between how patients rated these facilities and the scores that other hospitals got widened. "We found that [safety-net hospitals] performed more poorly than other hospitals on nearly every measure of patient experience and that gaps in performance were sizeable and persistent over time," the authors write.
When the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services agency starts using the scores to hand out bonuses and penalties, safety-net hospitals could be at a disadvantage, especially since penalties could mean a 2 percent cut on regular Medicare payments. Starting in October, patient experience scores will determine 30 percent of a facility's bonus. "The hospitals that perform best will gain money, while those that lag in scores and improvement over time will end up with less," reports Jordan Rau for Kaiser Health News. (Read more)