After the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its plans to release the Dialysis Facility Compare star rating system, DPC began to discuss with its membership what would make such a rating system successful. The two areas that DPC’s Board Members, Patient Ambassadors and membership all rated highest were 1) staff respect/listening and 2) patient education.
1) Staff Respect/Listening: This topic compresses two questions from the annual Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) questionnaire that Medicare requires dialysis patients to complete. It was even more apparent during our focus group discussions of our survey responses how upset patients would get with facility staff who were dismissive of their concerns. DPC’s mission is to empower patients through advocacy and education, so perhaps it is not surprising that our members feel strongly that they know a lot about their treatment, and demand that staff be responsive to their unique concerns.
2) Patient Education: Our survey respondents also felt that sometimes education is cursory, such as distributing numerous handouts and asking for receipt signatures, rather than the in-depth conversations that convey the information that patients need to put them in control of their health. There is also concern that education is front-loaded right when a patient goes into kidney failure, so they are often too overwhelmed to absorb it. Therefore, more information should be reinforced afterwards, when a dialysis patient may be better equipped to act upon it.
DPC has communicated your priorities to Medicare officials. To read the full set of recommendations click here. We greatly appreciate the efforts of staff from the Agency responsible for designing and implementing the program. These staff came to speak with our Board of Directors last week about our recommendations and many concerns with the current program. We look forward to further working with staff to achieve its goal of a program that is both “useful and understandable for patients.”
To find out more about the Dialysis Facility Compare star ratings that were released last month, click here.