CAHPS in practice: the Iowa demonstration.

Health Policy Research Program, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.
The Journal of ambulatory care management 05/2002; 25(2):32-42. DOI: 10.1097/00004479-200204000-00005
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This article evaluates the usefulness of the Consumer Assessment of Health Plan Study (CAHPS) surveys and reports in a demonstration and evaluation with three health care purchasers in Iowa. The CAHPS survey detected significant differences between health plans in several domains of health care. Both paper- and Web-based consumer reports were developed and distributed to consumers and stakeholders. There was some agreement on the value of these reports, but areas for improvement were noted.

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    ABSTRACT: The quality of medical care provided to individuals for work-related illnesses or injuries is important not only to employers and state programs, but also to the workers receiving the care. Workers' confidence in and satisfaction with workers' compensation care will influence their attitudes about the quality of the coverage offered by their employers as well as the performance of the larger workers' compensation system. In this context, it is important for providers, employers, and state officials to have information about the experiences that individuals had with workers' compensation medical care and their judgments about the quality of that care. Feedback from consumers about the quality of their health care complements other measures of the technical quality of clinical care. For example, substantial work has been done on the development of indicators defining appropriate practices for surgical procedures, use of prescription medications for specific health conditions, or management of a chronic disease such as diabetes. However, all of these clinical procedures could be performed perfectly while still leaving the patient unsatisfied, if the provider has not effectively engaged the patient in the care process and provided the care in a prompt and respectful manner. This paper explores the potential applicability of one health care survey and reporting system to worker's compensation medical care. This system is the Consumer Assessment of Health Plans (CAHPS®), which was developed by a consortium of research organizations in collaboration with the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ, previously named the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research) (Crofton, et al., 1999). CAHPS has been used across the country by large employers, Medicare, Medicaid programs, states as employers, and other sponsors to obtain information from their constituencies about their experiences with health insurance plans and the health care and related services they received. The National Committee for Quality Assurance also uses CAHPS in its accreditation of managed care health plans. The CAHPS survey and reporting methods, which have been developed and tested over many years, could be a useful resource for application to the worker's compensation environment. OVERVIEW OF CAHPS®