Devon Hill Associates provides healthcare mystery shopping services

The New Year brings a new change in the way DRG reimbursement is distributed. The reimbursement implications are significant, and many hospitals either have lost or will lose much needed federal funding, or collect sizeable incentive payments.

Which outcome will your hospital achieve?

As you know, one factor that determines whether your hospital receives an incentive payment or gets hit with a reduction in DRG reimbursement is inpatient satisfaction. That’s because Medicare’s Value Based Purchasing Program weighs inpatient satisfaction as 30% of a hospital’s performance score.

For this year, up to 1% of DRG reimbursement was at stake at underperforming hospitals. Next year, the percentage increases to 1.25% and increases again in 2017 to 2%. Even if yours is considered a top-performing hospital in its region, its DRG reimbursement may still be at risk because your facility is now being compared to the top 5% of ALL hospitals, with rolling benchmarks.

In anticipation of this change, hospital executives have been retraining staff and revising policies and processes with the goal of improving quality and increasing patient satisfaction at their facilities. Perhaps that’s what you’ve done, too.

However, any number of issues can cause a lower than expected satisfaction score. You may have the right employees in the wrong positions. Some employees may not be engaged in their work, causing them to feel less satisfied with their jobs. You may have staff members who are not as courteous, caring or responsive as you would like them to be. There may be procedures in place that improve efficiency, but make patients feel like staff care more about their functions than them, as human beings.

Situations like these can easily go unnoticed, especially when managers don’t take the opportunity to look at their facilities through the eyes of their patients. Absent this perspective, performance scores may continue to miss the mark, even triggering a multi-million-dollar decline in your hospital’s reimbursement. A financial hit like that is difficult to absorb.

See your facility from a patient’s perspective

Engaging the services of a medical mystery shopping company allows you to see your hospital through the eyes of patients. You see what they see – and how they perceive their experiences. The detailed reports provided by medical mystery shoppers help employees understand what messages their words and actions communicate to patients and families. But that’s not all. The mystery shoppers’ reports encourage hospital managers to provide their employees with the tools they need to ensure consistent, exceptional service.

Here’s how one well-known hospital benefited from mystery shopping:

Knowing they offered “good” service, the management team at Medical City Dallas Hospital wanted to raise the bar and offer patients “exceptional” service. To achieve this goal, the hospital engaged Devon Hill Associates, a nationally known provider of hospital mystery shopping services, to conduct its mystery shopping project. Within four months of the first wave of calls and visits, a number of significant changes and improvements were made in response to the mystery shoppers’ feedback, and others were in the works.

Changes were made at another hospital after reviewing mystery shopping reports on visits made to the Emergency Department and two inpatient units. After implementing these changes, the hospital’s next Press Ganey scores were called “awesome.”

The stakes are high. So are the incentive payments. Improved performance and patient satisfaction increase your hospital’s chance of receiving these payments. What you may not know is how significantly patient scores can be improved by partnering with a medical mystery shopping company. Find out by contacting Devon Hill Associates today at 858-456-7800 or fill out the inquiry form on our website.