Hospitals, Medicare and Patient Satisfaction

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“It’s only natural to believe that due to all the problems in the economy over the last few years that consumer satisfaction has likely taken a dip,” suggests Alan Weinstock, an insurance broker at www.MedicareSupplementPlans.com. And Alan would be right, but only when it comes to hospitals.

The fact is that according to the latest statistics from American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) while many industrial sectors improved their customer satisfaction rates, hospital satisfaction dropped 5%. Inpatient satisfaction recorded the biggest drop. Even as hospitals scrambled to respond to the economic crises through cost cutting initiatives and employee layoffs, many patients just were not satisfied.

The ACSI reports national customer satisfaction with the goods and services that Americans buy and consume within 10 economic sectors, 44 industries and over 200 companies and government agencies. Many consumer companies such as cable, telephone and utilities improved their consumer satisfaction numbers.

2010 HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey

Interestingly enough another health care survey, the 2010 HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey, tells a related story. According to the people at HealthLeaders Media many CEOs have made patient satisfaction one of the top strategic goals for their organizations in recent years. For example, improving patient satisfaction was the second-highest ranked priority for the next three years in this year’s survey, while more than 38% selected it as a top priority this year, compared to 26% in 2009.

However, as most people know any kind of change doesn’t happen overnight. What this could indicate is that improvements are on the horizon, and the American Consumer Satisfaction Index will show better results in 2011.

Hospital Compare for Medicare Patients

So what can Medicare beneficiaries do to reduce their risk of winding up in a hospital that offers lackluster service? The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has an answer.

Hospital Compare is a tool offered by the CMS which provides you with information on how well hospitals care for patients with regard to specific medical conditions and surgical procedures. The information is based on the results of patient surveys about the quality of their care during their most recent hospital stay.

The purpose is to provide you with the ability to compare the quality of care that hospitals in your area provide. It’s a great tool to use when speaking with your physician about your care.

For Medicare beneficiaries who are looking for Medicare supplement insurance, there is another great tool they might want to consider. By visiting http://www.MedicareSupplementPlans.com Medicare beneficiaries can get the information they want about which Medicare supplement insurance coverage is best for their needs. The website gives those 65 and older the opportunity to compare rates, plans and benefits from several prominent insurance companies. It’s one more useful tool that Medicare beneficiaries have at their disposal.