In August, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) held its 2015 CAHPS for Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) participating in Medicare initiatives survey vendor training. Generating objective data collected with these surveys will give hospice providers consumer perspectives on the quality of care they have received. Knowing what the vendors will be looking for will be key to boosting your ACO quality score.

Quality measures cover four main areas: 1) Patient/Caregiver Experience; 2) Care Coordination/Patient Safety; 3) Preventative Health and 4) At-Risk Population. Each of these areas account for 25 percent of your ACO’s quality score. The CMS has two versions of the survey–both versions will be accepted by the ACO data warehouse. Data collection procedures will be the same for both. Summary Survey Measures are scored on a scale of 0-100. Surveys will be mailed for completion, but if eligible beneficiaries did not respond or returned a blank or incomplete survey, the survey can be taken by telephone.

Sample Questions:
Using a number from 0-10, what number would you use to rate this provider?
In the last 6 months, how often was it easy to get an appointment with a specialist?

AHT How CAHPS Vendors Get Data IMAGE.docxAC-9: CG-CAHPS survey + SSM and the 2015 Physician Fee Schedule rule
ACO-12: 3 SSM’s* are not part of ACO quality score. For reporting periods 2012 and 2013 (2014 optional)

  • Care Coordination*
  • Between Visit Communication*
  • Helping Take Medications as Directed*

*Additional SSM’s for ACO-12. These are not scored.

Vendors must be prepared to administer questionnaires in English, plus one or more languages, including Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Vietnamese and Portuguese. Supplemental questions are not allowed and if a sampled beneficiary is unable to respond to the phone interview, a proxy respondent is allowed, with permission of the beneficiary.

The submission of final data to the CMS has to be done by February 10-12, 2016. The CAHPS for ACO’s survey project team has developed a secure warehouse for data using an application hosted by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit institution that performs objective research and analysis for shaping public policy.

Survey data will be reported on the Physician Compare website hosted by Medicare. Every ACO will receive a detailed report with their scores. Low scores (0.60-0.75) will be flagged. The information gathered by CAHPS survey vendors will help future patients compare providers, improve decision making, and help hospice organizations create real and lasting quality improvement initiatives.