The In-Center Hemodialysis Survey Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®), hereafter referred to as the "ICH CAHPS Survey," is designed to measure the experiences of people receiving in-center hemodialysis care from Medicare-certified dialysis centers (also known as ICH facilities or dialysis facilities). The survey is designed to meet the following three broad goals:

  • Produce comparable data from the patient’s perspective that will allow objective and meaningful comparisons between dialysis centers on domains that are important to consumers.
  • Create incentives for dialysis centers to improve their quality of care.
  • Enhance public accountability in health care by increasing the transparency of the quality of care provided in return for public investment.

Specifically, the survey measures patients’ experiences on topics that are necessary for making more informed choices when selecting a dialysis center as well as helping dialysis centers participating in the study to improve the quality of dialysis care for their patients. The following types of patient experiences are included: 

  • communication and care provided by kidney doctors,
  • quality of the dialysis center‘s care and operations, and
  • providing of information to patients.

Development of the ICH CAHPS Survey

The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Section 4558(b)) required that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) develop and implement a method to measure and report the quality of renal dialysis services provided under the Medicare Program. Although CMS has been reporting comparative clinical information at the dialysis facility level since 2001 on its website, a major gap in the information was the quality of in-center hemodialysis care from end stage renal disease (ESRD) patients’ perspective. In 2001, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary announced the Quality Initiative, which reflected a commitment to assure quality health care for all Americans through accountability and public disclosure in all provider areas.

Since 1995, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), in conjunction with CMS, has developed a CAHPS Survey that is used to collect and publicly report data about the health care patients receive from a variety of health care settings, including hospital inpatients, home health care, and Medicare Advantage plans.

In 2004, CMS partnered with AHRQ to develop a CAHPS Survey for ESRD patients who receive in-center hemodialysis from dialysis centers. AHRQ and CMS developed and tested the ICH CAHPS Survey in 2005, ensuring the reliability of the survey items and implementation procedures. The survey was endorsed by the National Quality Forum (NQF) in 2007.

For more information on the CAHPS family of surveys, please visit