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Reminder: Only One Week before the Data Submission Deadline for the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey
folder_openData Submissionscalendar_todayPosted January 19, 2022

The deadline for submitting data files from the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey to the Data Center is at 5:00 PM Eastern Time on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 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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ICH CAHPS Coordination Team Semi-Annual Review (CTSAR) Newsletter – January 2022 Edition
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted January 12, 2022

The ICH CAHPS Team has published the January 2022 edition of the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team Semi-Annual Review (CTSAR). As a reminder, this newsletter is a way to provide in-center hemodialysis (ICH) facilities and survey vendors with helpful ICH CAHPS information.

The CTSAR is posted on the ICH CAHPS website and updated every January and July. You can navigate to the January 2022 newsletter in the Quick Links box on the ICH CAHPS home page, under the General Information tab on the ICH CAHPS website, or you can click here to view it now.

The CTSAR does not replace any source of information currently on the ICH CAHPS website; instead, it highlights important information for readers prior to each survey period. We encourage you to visit the ICH CAHPS website for more information on the items mentioned in this newsletter. Please continue to monitor the ICH CAHPS website for updates and announcements.

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.

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RTI International will be closed January 17, 2022
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted January 12, 2022

RTI International will be closed on January 17, 2022. The ICH CAHPS Coordination Team will respond to email and telephone inquiries that are received on that date after RTI re-opens on January 18, 2022.

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

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Reminder: Only 2 Weeks before the Data Submission Deadline for the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey
folder_openData Submissionscalendar_todayPosted January 12, 2022

As a reminder, the deadline for submitting data files from the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey to the Data Center is at 5:00 PM ET on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, which is only 2 weeks away. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will not accept any data files after that date and time.

We strongly encourage vendors to begin submitting XML files as soon as possible following the end of data collection. Remember that vendors should submit their data files in time for them 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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Reminder of Upcoming Deadline for Submitting Facility-Specific Questions for the 2022 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey for Approval
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted January 6, 2022

This is a reminder that ICH CAHPS Survey vendors must submit all facility-specific questions that they plan to add to the 2022 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey to the Coordination Team for review and approval. If any of your ICH facility clients are planning to add any new facility-specific questions to the 2022 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey, or change any currently approved facility-specific questions, please send those questions and their proposed placement to the Coordination Team via email at ichcahps@rti.org before 5:00 PM ET on February 4, 2022.

Please note that facility-specific questions that were approved by the Coordination Team for use in previous survey periods do not need to be approved again unless the question wording or response options have changed.

The Coordination Team will accept facility-specific questions for review after the February 4, 2022 deadline; however, approval of those questions may not be granted in time for the questions to be included in the 2022 Spring Survey. Survey vendors should work with their client ICH facilities to decide on the use of new facility-specific questions and submit the questions to the Coordination Team as soon as possible to avoid a delay in approval.

Please contact the Coordination Team via e-mail at ichcahps@rti.org or by calling 1-888-245-8083 if you have any questions.

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Reminder: Only 3 Weeks before the Data Submission Deadline for the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey
folder_openData Submissionscalendar_todayPosted January 5, 2022

As a reminder, data collection for the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey ends on Friday, January 7, 2022. The deadline for submitting data files from the 2021 ICH CAHPS Fall Survey to the Data Center is at 5:00 PM Eastern Time on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, which is only 3 weeks away. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will not accept any data files after that date and time.

As XML files are uploaded to the ICH CAHPS Data Center, a series of validation checks are made, one of which is a check to ensure that a patient-level record is included on the XML file for every case that was sampled for a CCN. Please note the following:

  • If the number of cases you include on an XML file does not match the number sampled, an error or warning message will appear on your data submission report.
  • If the error message appears for one or more of your CCNs, please make sure that you have entered information about each sampled case on the XML file.

Also be reminded that survey vendors:

  • should submit their files as soon as possible to allow adequate time to correct any problems identified and re-submit the files before the deadline; and
  • can submit a file for a CCN as many times as needed; however, keep in mind that each time a file for a CCN is re-submitted, it overwrites the file that was submitted previously.

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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Authorizing a Survey Vendor for the 2022 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey
folder_openFacility Participation Requirementscalendar_todayPosted January 5, 2022

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 2022 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey must update their vendor authorization on the ICH CAHPS website by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on February 28, 2022.

If your organization will continue to use the same survey vendor that was used to administer the 2021 Fall 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 2022 Spring Survey; OR
  • Your facility is switching to a different survey vendor to administer the 2022 Spring Survey; OR
  • Your facility entered the 2021 Fall Survey as the last survey period for which the vendor would administer the survey when you originally submitted the authorization form.

If any of the above statements apply to your facility, you must update the online vendor authorization form for the 2022 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey on the ICH CAHPS website by the February 28, 2022 deadline.

ICH facilities that served 30 or more survey-eligible patients in calendar year 2021 must administer both the 2022 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 2022 Spring 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: 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 "2022 Spring Survey."
  • Do not enter an end date for your survey vendor unless you know that you will not be using this vendor beyond 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 2022 Spring Survey after 5:00 PM Eastern Time on February 28, 2022 .

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

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The 2022 ICH CAHPS Survey Facility Non-Participation Form
folder_openFacility Participation Requirementscalendar_todayPosted January 4, 2022

Please note that the 2022 ICH CAHPS Survey Facility Non-Participation Form is now available on the ICH CAHPS website. To access this form, log in to the website using your user credentials and choose "Facility Non-Participation Form" under the For Facilities menu.

As noted in an email message sent to in-center hemodialysis (ICH) facilities on January 4, 2022 and posted under the Quick Links menu on the ICH CAHPS website's home page, all ICH facilities must determine whether they will be required to administer the ICH CAHPS Survey in calendar year (CY) 2022 by counting the number of survey-eligible patients they served in CY2021.

ICH facilities that determine that they are not required to administer the 2022 ICH CAHPS Survey and those that choose not to administer the survey must complete and submit the 2022 ICH CAHPS Facility Non-Participation Form on the website.

ICH facilities should note the following:

  • 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.
  • Submission of the Facility Non-Participation Form only alerts the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team that the facility does not wish for a sample file to be provided to their authorized vendor for the current calendar year; it does not affect compliance, which is determined on an annual basis by the ESRD Quality Incentive Program (QIP) team.
  • Once the Facility Non-Participation Form is submitted, any existing vendor authorization for the submitted facility is removed from the ICH CAHPS website. This means that if at any point in the future the submitted facility wishes to participate in the ICH CAHPS Surveys, the designated ICH CAHPS Survey Administrator will need to authorize a survey vendor for the facility.
  • Facilities certified after December 31, 2021 are not required to complete and submit the online Facility Non-Participation Form, unless they are registered with an authorized vendor on the ICH CAHPS website.

The deadline to submit the 2022 Facility Non-Participation Form is 5:00 PM Eastern Time on February 28, 2022.

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 or need more information about the Facility Non-Participation Form.

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Participation in the 2022 ICH CAHPS Surveys
folder_openFacility Participation Requirementscalendar_todayPosted January 4, 2022

In-center hemodialysis (ICH) facilities that served 30 or more survey-eligible patients in calendar year (CY) 2021 must administer the In-center Hemodialysis CAHPS (ICH CAHPS) Survey in the spring and fall of CY2022 to comply with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) quality reporting requirements for the 2024 payment year.

All ICH facilities should read this announcement in its entirety to determine whether they are required to participate in the ICH CAHPS Survey in CY2022 and if so, review the steps that need to be taken.

Determining Whether Participation in the CY2022 ICH CAHPS Surveys is Required

To determine whether your ICH facility (CCN) is required to participate in the ICH CAHPS Surveys in CY2022, count the number of survey-eligible patients your facility served in CY2021. Your count must include hemodialysis patients who:

  • were 18 years old or older as of December 31, 2021;
  • were alive as of December 31, 2021;
  • received hemodialysis on an outpatient basis from your facility for 3 consecutive months or longer at some point in CY2021;
  • are not currently receiving hospice care; and
  • were not living in a nursing home/skilled nursing facility or other long-term facility such as a prison or jail as of December 31, 2021.

Patients who receive home or peritoneal dialysis are not eligible to participate in the ICH CAHPS Survey; therefore, do not include those patients in your count of survey-eligible patients.

ICH facilities should note that the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team DOES NOT have information about the number of survey-eligible patients a facility served in CY2021. Therefore, each ICH facility is responsible for determining whether it is required to administer the semiannual 2022 ICH CAHPS Surveys.

In addition, ICH facilities that received Medicare certification after December 31, 2021 are not required to participate in the ICH CAHPS Survey in CY2022.

For Facilities That Are NOT Required To Participate

ICH facilities that served 29 or fewer survey-eligible patients in CY2021 are not required to participate in the ICH CAHPS Surveys in CY2022. However, all such facilities can choose one of the following four options:

  • Option 1. Administer the surveys in 2022 following all of the ICH protocols and procedures described in the ICH CAHPS Survey Administration and Specifications Manual;
  • Option 2. Administer the survey using a third-party vendor but not following the ICH CAHPS protocols and procedures;
  • Option 3. Administer the survey themselves, instead of using a third-party vendor; however, if any changes are made to the survey, it cannot be referred to as a CAHPS Survey; or
  • Option 4. Choose not to administer the survey at all.

If a facility that served 29 or fewer survey-eligible patients in CY2021 chooses Option 1, the ICH facility must be registered on the ICH CAHPS website and a vendor must be authorized. CMS will provide a patient sample to the facility's authorized ICH CAHPS Survey vendor for both the 2022 Spring and Fall Surveys. The surveys must be conducted according to all ICH CAHPS Survey protocols and procedures, which include the following:

  • Using a CMS-approved ICH CAHPS Survey vendor to administer the survey on its behalf;
  • Administering both the 2022 ICH CAHPS Spring and Fall Surveys;
  • Adhering to the ICH CAHPS survey administration procedures and protocols described in the ICH CAHPS Survey Administration and Specifications Manual when administering the survey; and
  • Submitting an ICH CAHPS Survey data file for each survey period to the ICH CAHPS Data Center.

If a facility chooses Option 2 or Option 3, CMS will not provide patient samples to the facility, nor will it accept submission of any data files to the Data Center. The ICH facility will be responsible for either working with a survey vendor (if choosing Option 2) or within their own organization (if choosing Option 3) to select the samples for the survey that will be conducted and for conducting all other aspects of the survey.

Please note: Because facilities implementing Option 2 or Option 3 will not submit an ICH CAHPS Survey data file to the Data Center, their collected survey data will not be analyzed for official ICH CAHPS public reporting purposes, nor will the administration of these surveys be used to determine ESRD Quality Incentive Program (QIP) compliance.

Facility Non-Participation Form

If an ICH facility chooses Option 2, Option 3, or Option 4, the facility must complete and submit a 2022 ICH CAHPS Facility Non-Participation Form, which is an online form that is available on the ICH CAHPS website (available under the For Facilities tab once the user logs in to the website). ICH facilities should note the following:

  • 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.
  • Submission of the Facility Non-Participation Form only alerts the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team that the facility does not wish for a sample file to be provided to their authorized vendor for the current calendar year; it does not affect compliance, which is determined on an annual basis by the ESRD Quality Incentive Program (QIP) team.
  • Once the Facility Non-Participation Form is submitted, any existing vendor authorization for the submitted facility is removed from the ICH CAHPS website. This means that if at any point in the future the submitted facility wishes to participate in the ICH CAHPS Surveys, the designated ICH CAHPS Facility Survey Administrator will need to authorize a survey vendor for the facility.
  • Facilities certified after December 31, 2021 are not required to complete and submit the online Facility Non-Participation Form, unless they are registered with an authorized vendor on the ICH CAHPS website.

If your organization does not plan to administer the ICH CAHPS Surveys in 2022, you must complete and submit the 2022 Facility Non-Participation Form by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on February 28, 2022.

For Facilities That ARE Required To Participate

ICH facilities that served 30 or more survey-eligible patients in CY2021 must administer the 2022 ICH CAHPS Spring and Fall Surveys to comply with quality reporting requirements for the 2024 payment year.

For Facilities that Administered the ICH CAHPS Survey in CY2021

The Coordination Team will provide a sample file to the survey vendor that is currently authorized on the ICH CAHPS website. If an ICH facility plans to use a different ICH CAHPS Survey vendor than was used in 2021, the facility must update its vendor authorization on the ICH CAHPS website before 5:00 PM Eastern Time on February 28, 2022. Click here for instructions on how to change the online vendor authorization.

For Facilities that have Never Administered the ICH CAHPS Survey

To participate in the survey for the first time, ICH facilities must do the following, if they have not already done so.

  1. Select and contract with one of the ICH CAHPS Survey vendors that have been approved by CMS. The list of CMS-approved ICH CAHPS Survey vendors is available on the ICH CAHPS website: https://ichcahps.org/GeneralInformation/ApprovedSurveyVendors.aspx.
  2. Designate a staff member to be the facility's ICH CAHPS Survey Administrator (SA). For more information about the role of the ICH CAHPS SA, see information provided in Chapter III of the ICH CAHPS Survey Administration and Specifications Manual, which is available on the ICH CAHPS website: https://ichcahps.org/SurveyandProtocols.aspx
  3. Register on the ICH CAHPS website: https://ichcahps.org/ForFacilities/FacilityUserRegistration.aspx. When registering, your facility's designated SA will create user credentials (username and password) that will allow him or her to access the private links on the ICH CAHPS website.
  4. Complete the online "Authorize a Vendor" form on the ICH CAHPS website by February 28, 2022 to authorize your survey vendor to collect and submit ICH CAHPS Survey data on your facility's behalf.

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 2022 ICH CAHPS Surveys.

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Updated ICH CAHPS Survey Materials for the 2022 Spring Survey
folder_openChanges to Survey Materialscalendar_todayPosted January 4, 2022

The ICH CAHPS Coordination Team is currently in the process of updating the ICH CAHPS Survey Administration and Specifications Manual, Version 10.0, and would like to give early notification to ICH CAHPS Survey vendors of the following survey materials that will be revised for implementation during the 2022 Spring Survey period:

  • ICH CAHPS Prenotification Letter in all approved languages:
    • Removed the mail merge field for "HONORIFIC" from the salutation and replaced with "FIRST NAME."
    • A sentence has been added directing the sampled patient to the new Patient Page on the ICH CAHPS website.
    • Very minor text changes made to increase sample patient readability.
  • ICH CAHPS Cover Letters in all approved languages:
    • Removed the mail merge field for "HONORIFIC" from the salutation and replaced with "FIRST NAME."
    • A sentence has been added directing the sampled patient to the new Patient Page on the ICH CAHPS website.
    • Very minor text changes made to increase sample patient readability.
    • Very minor text changes made to the OMB disclosure notice.
  • ICH CAHPS Mail Survey in Samoan, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese:
    • Very minor text changes made to the OMB disclosure notice.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in both approved languages:
    • Minor update made to revise reference to the Care Compare Tool, based on recent CMS guidance.

The Coordination Team will provide the revised materials to approved survey vendors via email within the next few weeks, so that they can begin updating their systems/processes to include these new changes and requirements. All survey vendors must update their survey materials before the 2022 Spring Survey begins in April 2022. At this time, these are the only survey materials revisions expected; however, survey vendors will be notified should other changes be required.

The revised cover letters, mail surveys (minor edits to OMB disclosure notice for Samoan, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese only), and FAQs will also be made available in all approved languages on the ICH CAHPS website in early February 2022. All updated survey materials will be discussed during the ICH CAHPS Vendor Update Webinar Training session on Wednesday, February 9, 2022.

Please contact the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team via email at ichcahps@rti.org if you have any questions.

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