Healthcare Insights

HCAHPS scores by state

After adult inpatients leave the hospital, a random sample receives a survey from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). The patient satisfaction survey questions, also referred to as the CAHPS Hospital Survey, ask about caregiver communication and responsiveness, hospital cleanliness, and preparations for the patient’s return home.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) developed the survey to reflect the patients’ assessment of care they receive at the hospital. Survey results can reflect the patient experience and perspective, quality of care, as well as provide insight to hospitals and healthcare systems on how to improve their HCAHPS scores.

The Definitive Healthcare HospitalView product tracks HCAHPS data for nearly 3,300 U.S. hospitals. This Healthcare Insight reviews average HCAHPS scores for each U.S. state.

Average HCAHPS score by state


Fig 1. Data is from the Definitive Healthcare HospitalView product and sourced from the January 2023 HCAHPS results published by CMS. Accessed February 2023.

Which states have the highest average HCAHPS scores?

South Dakota (4.21), Wisconsin (3.99), and Nebraska (3.97) have the highest average HCAHPS scores, with South Dakota being the only state with an average score above a 4-star rating.

Which states have the lowest average HCAHPS scores?

Florida (2.50) and the District of Columbia (2.33) have the lowest average HCAHPS scores.

What factors affect HCAHPS scores?

Hospital ratings are based on individual patient survey responses. The health of the patient population, the level of specialized care a hospital can provide, patient-to-provider ratios, busy patient-care settings, and staffing shortages can all affect how a patient rates their hospital experience, among many other factors.

What is the average HCAHPS score?

The average HCAHPS score across 3,286 U.S. hospitals tracked in HospitalView is 3.24.

How many questions are on the HCAHPS survey?

The HCAHPS survey has a total of 29 questions that break down as follows:

  • 19 items ask the questions on the hospital experience, from communication with doctors and nurses to the patient’s recommendation of the hospital to others.
  • 7 demographic questions, including five that adjust for patient mix and two that support congressionally mandated reporting.
  • 3 screening questions that field respondents to appropriate sections of the survey.

What is a good HCAHPS score?

The overall HCAHPS summary score is on a 5-star rating scale, with 1-star being the lowest and 5-star the highest. Summary star ratings average the hospital’s ratings over the 19 main survey questions. Hospitals with 4- and 5-star ratings have the best scores from a patient perspective.

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Healthcare Insights are developed with healthcare commercial intelligence from the Definitive Healthcare platform. Want even more insights? Start a free trial now and get access to the latest healthcare commercial intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers.