Beset by declining compensation resulting from low Press-Ganey scores, an ED group in Lincoln, Nebraska, Emergency Medical Entrepreneurs (EME) has hit upon an unlikely solution to their patient satisfaction conundrum and, in turn, raised their scores by a whopping 150%. The solution is quite simple and relates to an unusual loophole in the Press-Ganey survey system given to patients to elicit their opinion of the quality of care received.
“It turns out there is a giant opportunity within the Press-Ganey system for patient satisfaction improvement,” commented EME CEO Dallas Gordon, “Press-Ganey surveys, at least vis-à-vis Emergency Department compensation, are only sent to people who have been discharged from the ED. That means anyone who is admitted, leaves AMA, is transferred, or….um….dies, is not counted in these surveys.”
“So the solution we have come up with is simple: We will admit all potentially unhappy patients.”
Some physicians have lamented for years that compensation has become more tied to patient satisfaction, calling it patently unfair. For instance, patients who are admitted may be those for whom the treating ED physician deserves recognition and/or recompense for their skills. Furthermore, patients who are discharged have a higher likelihood for being upset with their care as it is more likely they were denied something they may have sought.
“To clarify,” concluded Dr. Gordon, ” the policy states that when a patient complains, they either get admitted or will have to leave AMA and are thus no longer included in the survey algorithm. Doesn’t matter what the diagnosis is. It could be an ankle sprain, chronic back pain, a pimple on the tongue. You complain=you get admitted. Simple as that. “