CMS proposes removal of HCAHPS pain management questions

CMS released its 2017 Medicare Outpatient Prospective Payment System proposed rule, which aims to enhance Medicare patients’ quality of care. In the rule, CMS is proposing to remove the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems’ Pain Management dimension, which often determines providers’ reimbursement rates. Here are four takeaways:

1. CMS’ proposal is in response to many healthcare leaders concerns over the pain management assessment’s correlation to opioid prescribing patterns. Often, providers are motivated to prescribe opioids to alleviate patients’ pain, thereby increasing satisfaction scores.

2. The current pain management questions do not ask specially about a type of pain-control method.

3. While CMS does not cite any proven studies that pain management dimension questions are linked to opioid prescribing patterns, the agency is proposing the emission to be cautious about the potential link.

4. Hospitals will continue to publicly report pain management data under the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program while CMS devises alternative pain management questions

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