The AHA today urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to suspend the pain-related questions in the Value-Based Purchasing Program while the agency works to address concerns the questions may inadvertently contribute to the opioid epidemic. The three questions are part of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Services. “The AHA agrees that the HCAHPS survey should inquire about pain management, that performance scores should be publicly reported, and that redesigned pain questions should eventually be reincorporated into the VBP program,” wrote Ashley Thompson, AHA senior vice president of public policy analysis and development. “However, we also want to ensure that the questions do not create pressure to prescribe opioids or other prescription painkillers or punish providers who, in their best judgment, choose not to prescribe them.”

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