CMS Removes Pain Management Questions from HCAHPS Survey
Mon, Nov. 7, 2016

In a change supported by ASA, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) announced it will remove and revise questions assessing pain management from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Survey.   As part of the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System final rule for calendar year (CY) 2017, CMS announced it was "finalizing the removal of the pain management dimension of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Survey for purposes of the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program to eliminate any financial pressure clinicians may feel to overprescribe medications."  CMS indicated it was "continuing the development and field testing of alternative questions related to provider communications and pain."

As part of the initial proposed rule on the OPPS and ASC, ASA expressed concern that the public reporting of patient satisfaction with pain management during inpatient care has had unintended consequences that may contribute to increased opioid use among patients. ASA encouraged CMS to develop alternative questions for the pain management dimension and to conduct further research to better understand how the questions impact opioid prescribing practices.  ASA offered its assistance in crafting appropriate questions.

While revising the questions alone will not resolve the prescription opioid epidemic, the change is a key part of a comprehensive solution to preventing the unintended consequences of opioid use.

ASA is pleased CMS is taking initial steps to address how these questions impact opioid prescribing practices. ASA looks forward to working with the agency in the future to ensure the revised questions are designed to optimize multimodal and multidisciplinary acute and chronic pain management.

View the CMS Fact Sheet on the Final Rule here

Learn about what ASA is doing to address the prescription opioid abuse epidemic

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