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RTI International will be closed November 25 and 26, 2021
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted November 22, 2021

RTI International will have limited availability on November 24, 2021 and will be closed on November 25 and 26, 2021. The ICH CAHPS Coordination Team will respond to email and telephone technical assistance inquiries that are received on these dates as soon as possible after RTI re-opens on November 29, 2021.

Please contact the Coordination Team via e-mail at ichcahps@rti.org or call 1-866-245-8083 if you have any questions.

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CY2022 ESRD Prospective Payment System Final Rule
folder_openInformation for Dialysis Facilitiescalendar_todayPosted November 15, 2021

The ESRD Prospective Payment System (PPS) Final Rule for Calendar Year 2022, which was published in the Federal Register on November 8, 2021, is available here.

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Tentative Data Collection Schedule for the 2022 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted November 5, 2021

The tentative data collection schedule and the dates for some key activities related to the 2022 In-Center Hemodialysis CAHPS (ICH CAHPS) Spring Survey are shown below. Please note that these dates are subject to change. Should a schedule change occur, an announcement will be posted.

Activity Date
2022 ICH CAHPS Survey Vendor Update Training Session 2/9/2022
2022 Introduction to the ICH CAHPS Survey Self-Administered Training 2/9/2022-2/16/2022
Submit New Facility-Specific Questions to CMS 2/4/2022
Deadline for Authorizing a Vendor for 2022 Spring Survey1 2/28/2022
Deadline for Submitting a 2022 Facility Non-Participation Form2 2/28/2022
Deadline (for vendors) to Review Vendor Authorization Report and Notify the Coordination Team of any Authorization Issues 3/1/2022
Deadline for Submitting the Updated Quality Assurance Plan 5/31/2022
   
Sampling Window 10/1/2021-12/31/2021
Sample Files Uploaded on ICH CAHPS Website 3/25/2022
Vendors Attest to Receipt of Sample File 3/29/2022
Mail Prenotification Letter 4/15/2022
Mail 1st Questionnaire (mail only and mixed mode)/Begin Telephone data collection (phone only) 4/29/2022
Mail 2nd Questionnaire (mail only)/Begin phone follow-up (mixed mode) 5/27/2022
Data Collection Ends 7/8/2022
Vendors Clean/Process Final Data and Construct XML File 7/8/2022-7/26/2022
Deadline for Submitting XML Data File to ICH Data Center 7/27/2022

1 Only ICH facilities that will be switching to a different survey vendor and those that will be participating in the ICH CAHPS Survey for the first time will need to complete the online vendor authorization form.
2 The Facility Non-Participation Form is an annual form that is valid only for the year in which it was submitted. ICH facilities that submitted the Facility Non-Participation Form in CY2021 must submit the 2022 Facility Non-Participation Form if they do not plan to administer the 2022 ICH CAHPS Spring and Fall Surveys.

Please contact the Coordination Team via e-mail at ichcahps@rti.org or call 1-866-245-8083 if you have any questions or need more information about the 2021 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey.

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Importance of Increasing ICH CAHPS Survey Response Rates
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted October 7, 2021

As we approach the start of data collection for the 2021 Fall Survey, CMS and the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team would like to take this time to address the continuing decline in the ICH CAHPS Survey response rates. We ask that you take the time to read this lengthy announcement.

We know that many ICH patients are asked to participate in the survey up to two times a year, and that many people are feeling fatigue in general because of the ongoing pandemic. The ICH CAHPS Survey is critical for both helping Medicare to improve the overall quality of dialysis care in the U.S., and for ensuring that ICH patients and their family members can make informed decisions regarding the in-center dialysis care they need. Patient participation is critical to this effort.

We want to take this opportunity to share some updates on what CMS and the Coordination Team are doing, as well as a reminder of patient engagement ideas that we hope will help to increase response rates in our upcoming survey periods.

Updates from the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team

  • New Patient Page on the ICH CAHPS Website: In July 2021, several enhancements were made to the ICH CAHPS website, including the addition of a dialysis patient page with FAQs about participating in the survey (https://ichcahps.org/Dialysis-Patients). Survey vendors and participating facilities are encouraged to:
    • direct ICH patients to this webpage should they have any questions about the survey; and
    • include a reference to this webpage on any ICH CAHPS Survey flyers/posters used by the facility to promote the survey (reminder to send any edited flyer/posters to the Coordination Team for approval).
  • Survey Revision Efforts: Over the years, CMS has received feedback that the length of the survey may have a negative impact on response rates. As a result of this feedback, the Coordination Team conducted a Technical Expert Panel (June 2020) and ICH patient focus groups (March 2021) to help guide potential revisions to shorten the current ICH CAHPS Survey, that we hope will have the added effect of reducing respondent burden.
  • Web Mode Experiment: The Coordination Team will also be conducting a web mode experiment in the near future to determine whether adding a web mode to the ICH CAHPS Survey protocol has the potential to improve overall response rates.

Reminders of Ideas for ICH Patient Engagement

  • ICH CAHPS Flyer or Poster: Consider using a poster/flyer or other awareness materials within your facilities, providing a heads-up to patients that their participation in the ICH CAHPS Survey is important.
    • The Coordination Team developed a CMS-approved ICH CAHPS poster/flyer that contains information about the survey; the template (without official CMS logo) can be found on the ICH CAHPS website: https://ichcahps.org/Survey-and-Protocols. Approval for using this exact template is not necessary; however, please contact the Coordination Team at ichcahps@rti.org to obtain the template version that includes the official CMS logo.
    • ICH facilities are also permitted to create their own poster/flyer or other awareness materials, with approval from the Coordination Team. Materials can be submitted for review to ichcahps@rti.org. Please keep in mind that the survey name included on the mail surveys that patients receive is "Medicare In-Center Hemodialysis Survey." If creating your own, facilities are encouraged to include a reference to the new dialysis patient page located on the ICH CAHPS website homepage: (https://ichcahps.org/Dialysis-Patients).
  • Show Patients the ICH CAHPS Survey Envelope: Show patients the ICH CAHPS Survey envelope so they can easily recognize it should they receive one in the mail. The new envelope template (implemented with the 2021 Spring Survey) can be found in Chapter 5 and 7 in the ICH CAHPS Administration and Specifications Manual: https://ichcahps.org/Survey-and-Protocols. The Coordination Team can also email the envelope template to ICH facilities upon request.
  • Remind Patients of the Survey Fundamentals: Explain the details of the ICH CAHPS Survey with your patients, including:
    • Communicate to patients the purpose of the survey, why their responses matter, and how they can access the survey results on the Care Compare website at https://www.medicare.gov/care-compare.
    • Explain to patients that the survey is conducted every spring (April-July) and fall (October-January) and that they may be asked to participate up to two times a year. Make sure that they know that they may be contacted via mail or phone (or both) by an independent vendor.
    • Let patients know that they may receive the ICH CAHPS Survey and that honest feedback is appreciated. Make sure they know that no one from the facility will know who receives the survey, who responds to the survey, or how they answered any of the questions.
    • Discuss publicly reported survey results and facility scores with patients and the facility's plans, if any, to improve patient care based on survey results.

Things to Keep in Mind when Implementing Patient Engagement

Although patient engagement is critically important, ICH facilities should make sure to keep the following in mind when implementing any patient engagement techniques:

  • Patients receiving ICH treatment are an especially vulnerable population, relying on an ICH facility and its staff for life-sustaining care. Some patients might be reluctant to participate in the ICH CAHPS Survey or provide feedback on the dialysis care they receive for fear of retribution by facility staff. Participation is always voluntary.
  • Patients may be reluctant to provide survey responses that accurately reflect their experience with the care provided by their ICH facility because they might perceive that government agencies are not responsive to patients' concerns. Facilities should not imply or persuade patients to respond to items in a particular way.
  • If patients ask ICH facility personnel to help them complete the survey, facility staff should instruct them to ask a family member or friend for help. Staff at a dialysis facility are not allowed to help patients complete the survey.
  • If sample patients have any questions about the survey, facility staff should instruct them to call their ICH CAHPS Survey vendor's toll-free telephone number, which is included in the prenotification and mail survey cover letters. Staff at a dialysis facility should not attempt to answer survey-specific questions asked by the patient.

As we work towards our end goal of improving the ICH CAHPS Survey, any changes that are made to the survey or new data collection modes will be shared with survey vendors and ICH facilities. At this point, we do not have a solid timeframe for any potential changes, as a final decision depends on a number of factors; making such changes to an established survey is a lengthy process. In the meantime, we hope that the information provided here will help ICH facilities employ useful patient engagement tactics to help increase ICH CAHPS Survey response rates! And as always, if you have additional ideas or proven tactics for increasing response rates, please share with the Coordination Team at ichcahps@rti.org.

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Request for Interest in Becoming an Approved ICH CAHPS Survey Vendor for 2022
folder_openTraining Informationcalendar_todayPosted September 15, 2021

Important Information for Survey Vendor Organizations Interested in Becoming an Approved ICH CAHPS Survey Vendor

***Any survey vendor organization, not already a CMS-approved survey vendor for ICH CAHPS, interested in applying to become an approved ICH CAHPS Survey vendor must notify the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team of their interest via email at ichcahps@rti.org no later than Friday, October 1, 2021.***

The ICH CAHPS Coordination Team is preparing for the semiannual ICH CAHPS Surveys that will be conducted in calendar year 2022. This will include accepting and processing applications from survey vendor organizations and training those survey vendors to become a CMS approved ICH CAHPS Survey vendor; however, any interested survey vendor organization must notify us of their intent to submit an application by 5 PM ET on October 1, 2021. To become a CMS-approved ICH CAHPS Survey vendor, survey organizations must, at a minimum:

  • complete and submit the ICH CAHPS Vendor Application via the ICH CAHPS website,
  • meet the minimum business requirements posted on the ICH CAHPS website,
  • participate in the self-administered Introduction to the ICH CAHPS Webinar Training,
  • complete a training certification after participating in the Introduction training, and
  • attend all vendor update training sessions.

The vendor application will be made available on the website in late October, depending on the response to this request for interest announcement. Survey organizations that submit an application for 2022, meet the requirements for becoming a CMS-approved ICH CAHPS Survey vendor, and receive final approval from CMS will be eligible to administer the survey beginning with the 2022 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey.

Please contact the Coordination Team via email at ichcahps@rti.org or call us toll-free telephone at 1-866-245-8083 if you have any questions about this request for interest.

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RTI International will be closed September 3 and 6, 2021
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted August 31, 2021

RTI International will be closed on September 3 and 6, 2021. The ICH CAHPS Coordination Team will respond to email and telephone technical assistance inquiries that are received on those dates as soon as possible after RTI re-opens on September 7, 2021.

Please contact the Coordination Team via e-mail at ichcahps@rti.org or call 1-866-245-8083 if you have any questions.

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Reminder: Deadline for Authorizing a Survey Vendor for the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey is August 31, 2021
folder_openFacility Participation Requirementscalendar_todayPosted August 30, 2021

This is a reminder that all in-center hemodialysis (ICH) facilities that are administering the ICH CAHPS Survey for the first time or are switching to a different ICH CAHPS Survey vendor to administer the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey must update their vendor authorization on the ICH CAHPS website by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on August 31, 2021. Please note you must update the online vendor authorization only if the following applies.

  • Your facility is participating in the ICH CAHPS Survey for the first time during the 2021 Fall Survey; OR
  • Your facility is switching to a different survey vendor to administer the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey; OR
  • Your facility entered the 2021 Spring Survey as the last survey period for which the vendor would administer the survey when you originally submitted the vendor authorization form.

If your organization will continue to use the same ICH CAHPS Survey vendor that was used to administer the 2021 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey, you do not need to update the online vendor authorization form.

If any of the above statements apply to your facility, you must update the online vendor authorization form for the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey on the ICH CAHPS website by the August 31, 2021 deadline. Please note that you must have a formal written contract with an approved ICH CAHPS Survey vendor before authorizing that vendor on the website

ICH facilities that served 30 or more survey-eligible patients in calendar year 2020 must administer both the 2021 ICH CAHPS Spring and Fall Surveys to be compliant with the CMS quality reporting requirements. If the online vendor authorization form is not updated by the deadline, a sample will not be provided to a survey vendor, which means the 2021 Fall Survey cannot be administered.

The steps for authorizing a vendor on the ICH CAHPS website are as follows:

  • Log in to the ICH CAHPS website here.
  • From your personal dashboard, click “Authorize a Vendor.” The system will then take you to the Authorize a Vendor page.
  • From the “Select Action” drop-down list on the Authorize a Vendor page:
    • If authorizing a vendor for the first time on the website: Select the “Select a vendor for the first time” option.
    • If changing/switching to a different vendor: Select the “Switch to a different vendor” option.
  • Select the name of your survey vendor from the vendor drop-down list.
  • Select the Beginning Survey Period for your new vendor. In this instance, you would select "2021 Fall Survey."
  • Do not enter an end date for your survey vendor unless you know that you will not be using this vendor for the 2022 Spring Survey.
  • Select the CCN(s) of the ICH facility (or facilities) to which the authorization applies.
  • Click the “Submit” button.

Please note:  No changes to vendor authorizations will be accepted for the 2021 Fall Survey after 5:00 PM Eastern Time on August 31, 2021.

Please contact the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team at 1–866–245–8083 or via email at ichcahps@rti.org if you have any questions or need more information about the 2021 ICH CAHPS Surveys.

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Only One Week before the Deadline to Authorize a Survey Vendor for the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey
folder_openFacility Participation Requirementscalendar_todayPosted August 24, 2021

This is a reminder that all in-center hemodialysis (ICH) facilities that are administering the ICH CAHPS Survey for the first time or are switching to a different ICH CAHPS Survey vendor to administer the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey must update their vendor authorization on the ICH CAHPS website by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on August 31, 2021. Please note you must update the online vendor authorization only if the following applies.

  • Your facility is participating in the ICH CAHPS Survey for the first time during the 2021 Fall Survey; OR
  • Your facility is switching to a different survey vendor to administer the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey; OR
  • Your facility entered the 2021 Spring Survey as the last survey period for which the vendor would administer the survey when you originally submitted the vendor authorization form.

If your organization will continue to use the same ICH CAHPS Survey vendor that was used to administer the 2021 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey, you do not need to update the online vendor authorization form.

If any of the above statements apply to your facility, you must update the online vendor authorization form for the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey on the ICH CAHPS website by the August 31, 2021 deadline. Please note that you must have a formal written contract with an approved ICH CAHPS Survey vendor before authorizing that vendor on the website.

ICH facilities that served 30 or more survey-eligible patients in calendar year 2020 must administer both the 2021 ICH CAHPS Spring and Fall Surveys to be compliant with the CMS quality reporting requirements. If the online vendor authorization form is not updated by the deadline, a sample will not be provided to a survey vendor, which means the 2021 Fall Survey cannot be administered.

The steps for authorizing a vendor on the ICH CAHPS website are as follows:

  • Log in to the ICH CAHPS website here.
  • From your personal dashboard, click “Authorize a Vendor.” The system will then take you to the Authorize a Vendor page.
  • From the “Select Action” drop-down list on the Authorize a Vendor page:
    • If authorizing a vendor for the first time on the website: Select the “Select a vendor for the first time” option.
    • If changing/switching to a different vendor: Select the “Switch to a different vendor” option.
  • Select the name of your survey vendor from the vendor drop-down list.
  • Select the Beginning Survey Period for your new vendor. In this instance, you would select "2021 Fall Survey."
  • Do not enter an end date for your survey vendor unless you know that you will not be using this vendor for the 2022 Spring Survey.
  • Select the CCN(s) of the ICH facility (or facilities) to which the authorization applies.
  • Click the “Submit” button.

Please note: No changes to vendor authorizations will be accepted for the 2021 Fall Survey after 5:00 PM Eastern Time on August 31, 2021.

Please contact the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team at 1–866–245–8083 or via email at ichcahps@rti.org if you have any questions or need more information about the 2021 ICH CAHPS Surveys.

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Authorizing a Survey Vendor for the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey
folder_openFacility Participation Requirementscalendar_todayPosted August 5, 2021

All in-center hemodialysis (ICH) facilities that are administering the ICH CAHPS Survey for the first time or are switching to a different survey vendor to administer the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey must update their vendor authorization on the ICH CAHPS website by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on August 31, 2021. Please note that you will need to update the online vendor authorization only if one of the bullets below apply.

If your organization will continue to use the same survey vendor that was used to administer the 2021 Spring Survey, you do not need to update the online vendor authorization form. However, you must update the online vendor authorization if any of the following apply:

  • Your facility is participating in the ICH CAHPS Survey for the first time during the 2021 Fall Survey; OR
  • Your facility is switching to a different survey vendor to administer the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey; OR
  • Your facility entered the 2021 Spring Survey as the last survey period for which the vendor would administer the survey when you originally submitted the vendor authorization form.

If any of the above statements apply to your facility, you must update the online vendor authorization form for the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey on the ICH CAHPS website by the August 31, 2021 deadline. ICH facilities that served 30 or more survey-eligible patients in calendar year 2020 must administer both the 2021 Spring and Fall Surveys to be compliant with CMS’s quality reporting requirements. If the online vendor authorization form is not updated by the deadline, a sample will not be provided to a survey vendor, which means the 2021 Fall Survey cannot be administered.

The steps for authorizing a vendor on the ICH CAHPS website are as follows:

  • Log in to the ICH CAHPS website.
  • From your personal dashboard, click “Authorize a Vendor.” The system will then take you to the Authorize a Vendor page.
  • From the “Select Action” drop-down list on the Authorize a Vendor page:
    • If authorizing a vendor for the first time on the website: Select the “Select a vendor for the first time” option.
    • If changing/switching to a different vendor: Select the “Switch to a different vendor” option.
  • Select the name of your survey vendor from the vendor drop-down list.
  • Select the Beginning Survey Period for your new vendor. In this instance, you would select "2021 Fall Survey."
  • Do not enter an end date for your survey vendor unless you know that you will not be using this vendor for the 2022 Spring Survey.
  • Select the CCN(s) of the ICH facility (or facilities) to which the authorization applies.
  • Click the “Submit” button.

Please note:  No changes to vendor authorizations will be accepted for the 2021 Fall Survey after 5:00 PM Eastern Time on August 31, 2021.

Please contact the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team at 1–866–245–8083 or via e-mail at ichcahps@rti.org if you have any questions.

 

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Reminder: Only One Week before the Data Submission Deadline for the 2021 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey
folder_openData Submissionscalendar_todayPosted July 21, 2021

The deadline for submitting data files from the 2021 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey to the Data Center is at 5:00 PM ET on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, which is 1 week from today. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will not accept any data files after that date and time.

We strongly encourage vendors who have not submitted an XML file for any of their facility clients to begin submitting as soon as possible. Remember that vendors must submit their data files in time to correct and re-submit any files that do not pass the validation checks.

Please feel free to contact the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team via email at ichcahps@rti.org or call 1-866-245-8083 if you have any questions or need help with data submissions.

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