Press Ganey acquires Quality Improvement Project

Patient-satisfaction ratings firm Press Ganey Associates has acquired one of the nation's forerunner systems for healthcare performance measures, the Maryland Hospital Association's Quality Improvement Project, for undisclosed terms.

The move comes ahead of the CMS' plans in 2013 to roll out a new value-based purchasing initiative for Medicare in which healthcare providers will have to provide data on patient-satisfaction and clinical quality measures to receive full reimbursements.

“The notion of having those two data sets side by side is important, because there's a lot riding on it,” said Nell Wood Buhlman, a QIP executive whose new title is vice president of clinical products marketing for South Bend, Ind.-based Press Ganey.

QIP was founded in 1984 by the Maryland association as a way to compare clinical quality indicators among hospitals, and has since grown into a full-scale operation with dozens of employees. Officials with both organizations declined to release details of the purchase or their recent financial data.

News of the acquisition comes weeks after the owner of Press Ganey, private equity firm Vestar Capital Partners, announced that it was purchasing HealthGrades of Golden, Colo., best known for its comprehensive ratings of hospitals, physicians and nursing homes. Vestar is set to pay nearly $300 million for HealthGrades.

Officials said that Press Ganey and Golden, Colo.-based HealthGrades will be run separately, but that QIP's operations will be fully merged into Press Ganey. Buhlman said it has not been determined whether the QIP corporate identity, known to its nearly 500 existing customers, will be maintained.