WASHINTON, D.C. (October 13, 2020)—Since implementation of the Hospice Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey in 2015, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and other hospice stakeholders have submitted recommendations for improvements to the survey, including suggestions that the survey be shortened and that certain questions be modified to eliminate the potential for confusion. Based on a summary of recent activity, it appears that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been listening.

In early July, on behalf of CMS, Rand, a policy and research think tank, conducted a technical expert panel (TEP) comprised of various stakeholder representatives, including NAHC representative Theresa M. Forster, Vice President for Hospice Policy & Programs. TEP participants were provided with a review of the survey’s history, structure and content; stakeholder feedback that CMS has received (including recommendations to shorten and simplify the survey); alternate modes of administration; and steps CMS has taken to explore modifications to the survey, including a “plain language” review and preparation that has been undertaken for a forthcoming field test.

Also presented and discussed during the TEP meeting were specific items identified for potential removal from the survey, including items not currently included in scored measures, as well as items from the following composites:

  • Communication with Family
  • Getting Help for Pain and Symptoms
  • Training Family to Care for Patient

TEP participants generally supported removal of the proposed items, and also agreed with stakeholder feedback that the term “training” used within the survey might not be broadly understood by respondents and should be replaced. The TEP participants also identified some potential topic areas for addition to the CAHPS Hospice Survey, including items addressing:

  • Cultural Sensitivity
  • Goals of Care
  • COVID-19 Considerations
  • Bereavement

CMS plans to conduct a field test of a revised CAHPS Hospice Survey instrument in 2021. To review the full summary of the TEP discussions, please go here.