CMS Administrator Tom Scully has told Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) that the agency's development of a patient satisfaction survey has been on the level, despite accusations otherwise by the Gallup Organization. After concerns were raised in Congress, Tauzin asked Scully and Carolyn Clancy, director of HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, to describe the project in detail and discuss potential conflicts of interest. The CMS is developing the patient satisfaction survey for a Medicare regulation it plans to issue later this year that would require hospitals to administer the survey and publicize results. In an April 11 letter to Tauzin, Scully and Clancy said, "There have been no commitments made by AHRQ or CMS to any vendor regarding the potential use of their product in the implementation of the national (survey) instrument." In a lawsuit filed last week, Gallup accused Scully of favoring National Research Corp. and of intimidating a Gallup executive. An aide to the Energy and Commerce Committee, which Tauzin chairs, said, "At first blush, what Mr. Scully said appears to make sense but at the same time, we're going to dig a little deeper and continue to monitor the process." -- by Jeff Tieman
Scully defends survey development process
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