CMS proposes eliminating pain management from HCAHPS payment score

In an effort to combat the opioid addiction raging in the U.S., CMS has proposed removing pain management-related questions on the HCAHPS survey from the hospital payment scoring calculation.

HHS announced CMS's proposal on Wednesday along with other actions to combat the opioid addiction epidemic.

"Many clinicians report feeling pressure to overprescribe opioids because scores on the HCAHPS survey pain management questions are tied to Medicare payments to hospitals," an HHS statement reads, even though the questions and Medicare payment "have a very limited connection."

Under the proposal, the three pain management questions on the HCAHPS survey would no longer factor into the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program payments from Medicare, staring in fiscal year 2018. The questions would remain on the survey, however.

Every day in the U.S., more than 650,000 opioid prescriptions are dispensed, and 3,900 people start using prescription opioid for a nonmedical purpose. Seventy-eight people die from an opioid-related overdose daily.

With this and other new actions, HHS and CMS hope to stem those prescriptions and overdose deaths.


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