On October 1, 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced they will no longer use results from the pain management portion of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey to impact reimbursement rates from the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) program*. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) determined pain management questions may financially incentivize inpatient hospitals to overprescribe opioids in an effort to eliminate pain and improve survey results.
HHS intends to replace the current questions with questions targeted toward pain management communication similar to those in the Outpatient and Ambulatory Surgery (OAS) CAHPS. HHS will have public comment periods available during development and prior to implementation of the new pain management questions for the HCAHPS. The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis supported this decision as part of their 56 recommendations released on October 31, 2017.
*For now, the pain management questions will continue to remain a part of the survey sent to patients and will be used when determining scores for the Hospital IQR program, HCAHPS star ratings, and Hospital Compare overall ratings. However, the scores will not impact reimbursements through the VBP program.