CMS to Launch CAHPS Hospice Survey in January 2015

By: Visiting Nurse Associations of America on 11/11/2014

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is preparing for the January 2015 launch of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Hospice Survey, which measures and assesses the experiences of patients who died while receiving hospice care, as well as the experiences of their informal primary caregivers.

CMS developed the CAHPS Hospice Survey with input from many stakeholders, including other government agencies, industry stakeholders, consumer groups, and other key individuals and organizations involved in hospice care. Since the CAHPS Hospice Survey focuses on experiences of care, implementation of the survey supports the following national priorities for improving care: involving patients and families in care and promoting effective communication and coordination. The CAHPS Hospice Survey treats the patient who died while in hospice care and his or her informal primary caregiver (i.e., family member or friend) as the unit of care. Each contracted hospice must provide specified decedent/caregiver data to its survey vendor on a monthly basis.

The CAHPS Hospice Survey Project Team has posted questions that may be of interest specific to the hospice’s roles and responsibilities in the CAHPS Hospice Survey on their website. Other items on the website included the general FAQ document, CAHPS Hospice Survey Quality Assurance Guidelines V1.0 Technical Corrections and Clarifications Document and the CAHPS Hospice Survey XML File Specification V1.0. These items are available here. A list of approved survey vendors is located here.

The final rule published in the Federal Register (79FR50452) states that participation in the Hospice CAHPS Survey is required for the FY 2017 Annual Payment Update (APU) determination. Implementation will start with a dry run for at least 1 month in the first quarter of CY 2015 (January 2015, February 2015, and/or March 2015) plus 3 quarters of continuous monthly participation (April 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015). Monthly participation will be required for all subsequent months.

The standardized 47 question CAHPS Hospice Survey instrument is composed of the following measures: Hospice Team Communication, Getting Timely Care, Treating Family Member with Respect, Providing Emotional Support, Support for Religious and Spiritual Beliefs, Getting Help for Symptoms, Information Continuity, Understanding the Side Effects of Pain Medication, and Getting Hospice Care Training.