Menu

Announcements

 

RTI International will be closed May 31, 2021 for the Memorial Day Holiday
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted May 26, 2021

RTI International will be closed on Monday, May 31, 2021 for the Memorial Day holiday. The ICH CAHPS Coordination Team will respond to email and telephone technical assistance inquiries that are received on that date as soon as possible after RTI re-opens on Tuesday, June 1, 2021.

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

Back to top


Reminder: Deadline for Submitting an Updated 2021 ICH CAHPS Quality Assurance Plan is May 31, 2021
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted May 24, 2021

This is a friendly reminder that the deadline for ICH CAHPS Survey vendors to submit the annual Quality Assurance Plan (QAP) is 5:00 PM Eastern Time on May 31, 2021.

The QAP must describe how the survey vendor will implement, comply with, and provide oversight of all survey and data processing activities associated with the ICH CAHPS Survey. To ensure prompt review and acceptance of your Update QAP, please follow the procedures listed below:

  • Locate the version of your most recently approved QAP; that is, the version that was accepted by CMS and the Coordination Team in 2020.
  • Make a copy of that version and accept all tracked changes, creating a clean copy of your QAP.
  • Make all 2021 updates to your clean copy using track changes, so that your document reflects only the changes made since your most recent approved QAP.
  • Make sure to include updates to your QAP if your organization has had changes in ICH CAHPS Survey personnel, changes to protocols or procedures, and/or changes in approved survey mode(s).
  • Make sure your QAP follows the format shown in the Model QAP posted on the ICH CAHPS website. Also make sure that you provide information for every topic included in the Model QAP.
  • Before submitting your update QAP, check it carefully to make sure that it reflects all ICH CAHPS Survey protocols disseminated via announcements posted on the ICH CAHPS website and/or described in the latest version of the Survey Administration and Specifications Manual.
  • *NEW* Vendors should submit for review a copy of all survey materials for each language the survey was administered during the previous survey period or will be administered in the next survey period.
  • Submit your QAP online via the ICH CAHPS website by accessing the Submit Quality Assurance Plan option under the “For Vendors” menu on the grey bar at the top of the website’s home page (https://ichcahps.org/).

The QAP must be updated and submitted annually on or before May 31 of each year and any time the vendor has a change in ICH CAHPS personnel, capabilities, or systems that are used to administer the ICH CAHPS Survey. Remember that you must also update your online ICH CAHPS Vendor Application Form if you have been approved to add/drop survey modes, changed key personnel and/or subcontractors, and/or have changed your business name or location.

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

Back to top


Deadline for Submitting an Updated 2021 ICH CAHPS Quality Assurance Plan
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted May 3, 2021

This is a friendly reminder that the deadline for ICH CAHPS Survey vendors to submit the annual Quality Assurance Plan (QAP) is 5:00 PM Eastern Time on May 31, 2021.

The QAP must describe how the survey vendor will implement, comply with, and provide oversight of all survey and data processing activities associated with the ICH CAHPS Survey. To ensure prompt review and acceptance of your Annual QAP, please follow the procedures listed below:

  • Locate the version of your most recently approved QAP; that is, the version that was accepted by CMS and the Coordination Team in 2020.
  • Make a copy of that version and accept all tracked changes, creating a clean copy of your QAP.
  • Make all 2021 updates to your clean copy using track changes, so that your document reflects only the changes made since your most recently approved QAP.
  • Make sure to include updates to your QAP if your organization has had changes in ICH CAHPS Survey personnel, changes to protocols or procedures, and/or changes in approved survey mode(s).
  • Make sure your QAP follows the format shown in the Model QAP posted on the ICH CAHPS website. Also make sure that you provide information for every topic included in the Model QAP.
  • Before submitting your annual QAP, check it carefully to make sure that it reflects all ICH CAHPS Survey protocols disseminated via announcements posted on the ICH CAHPS website and/or described in the latest version of the Survey Administration and Specifications Manual.
  • *NEW* Vendors should submit for review a copy of all survey materials for each language the survey was administered during the previous survey period or will be administered in the next survey period.
  • Submit your QAP online via the ICH CAHPS website by accessing the Submit Quality Assurance Plan option under the “For Vendors” menu on the grey bar at the top of the website’s home page (https://ichcahps.org/).

The QAP must be updated and submitted annually on or before May 31 of each year and any time the vendor has a change in ICH CAHPS personnel, capabilities, or systems that are used to administer the ICH CAHPS Survey. Remember that you must also update your online ICH CAHPS Vendor Application Form if you have been approved to add/drop survey modes, changed key personnel and/or subcontractors, and/or have changed your business name or location.

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

Back to top


Deadline for Authorizing a Survey Vendor for the 2021 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey is February 28, 2021
folder_openFacility Participation Requirementscalendar_todayPosted February 26, 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 Spring Survey must update their vendor authorization on the ICH CAHPS website by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on Sunday, February 28, 2021.

Please note that ICH facilities 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 Spring Survey; OR
  • Your facility is switching to a different survey vendor to administer the 2021 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey; OR
  • Your facility entered the 2020 Fall Survey as the last survey period for which the vendor would administer the survey when you originally submitted the authorization form.

If your organization will continue to use the same ICH CAHPS Survey vendor that was used to administer the 2020 ICH CAHPS Fall 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 Spring Survey on the ICH CAHPS website by the February 28, 2021 deadline. 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 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 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 Spring Survey."
  • Do not enter an end date for your survey vendor unless you know that you will not be using this vendor for the 2021 Fall 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 Spring Survey after 5:00 PM Eastern Time on February 28, 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.

Back to top


Reminder: The 2021 ICH CAHPS Survey Facility Non-Participation Form Deadline is February 28, 2021
folder_openFacility Participation Requirementscalendar_todayPosted February 22, 2021

Please note that the deadline for submitting the 2021 Facility Non-Participation Form for the ICH CAHPS Survey is 5:00 PM Eastern on February 28, 2021. To access this form, login 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 5, 2021 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 Surveys in calendar year 2021 by counting the number of survey-eligible patients they served in 2020.

ICH facilities that determine that they are not required to administer the 2021 ICH CAHPS Surveys and those that choose not to administer the surveys must complete and submit the 2021 Facility Non-Participation Form on the website.

ICH facilities should please 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 2020 must submit the 2021 Facility Non-Participation Form if they do not plan to administer the 2021 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 CCN(s) is removed from the ICH CAHPS website. This means that if at any point in the future the submitted CCN(s) wishes to participate in the ICH CAHPS Surveys, the designated ICH CAHPS Facility Survey Administrator will need to authorize a survey vendor for the CCN(s).
  • Facilities certified after December 31, 2020 are not required to complete and submit the online Facility Non-Participation Form, unless they are currently registered with an authorized vendor on the ICH CAHPS website.

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 Facility Non-Participation Form.

Back to top


Only One Week before the Deadline to Authorize a Survey Vendor for the 2021 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey
folder_openFacility Participation Requirementscalendar_todayPosted February 22, 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 Spring Survey must update their vendor authorization on the ICH CAHPS website by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on February 28, 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 Spring Survey; OR
  • Your facility is switching to a different survey vendor to administer the 2021 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey; OR
  • Your facility entered the 2020 Fall Survey as the last survey period for which the vendor would administer the survey when you originally submitted the authorization form.

If your organization will continue to use the same ICH CAHPS Survey vendor that was used to administer the 2020 ICH CAHPS Fall 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 Spring Survey on the ICH CAHPS website by the February 28, 2021 deadline. 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 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 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 Spring Survey."
  • Do not enter an end date for your survey vendor unless you know that you will not be using this vendor for the 2021 Fall 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 Spring Survey after 5:00 PM Eastern Time on February 28, 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.

Back to top


Increasing ICH CAHPS Survey Response Rates
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted February 19, 2021

In recent years, we have seen a slight, steady decline in the In-Center Hemodialysis (ICH CAHPS) Survey response rates. Due to the small sample sizes at most participating facilities and the fact that most in-center hemodialysis (ICH) patients receive dialysis for many years, many ICH patients are asked to participate in the survey up to two times each year. End-stage renal disease experts, survey experts, and other stakeholders continue to stress the critical importance of the need for patient engagement in terms of the ICH CAHPS Survey. We are sharing some patient engagement ideas in hopes that the information is useful in keeping ICH patients invested in the survey.

Ideas for ICH Patient Engagement

  • 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.”
  • Show patients the ICH CAHPS Survey envelope so they can easily recognize it should they receive one in the mail. The new envelope template that will be used starting 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.
  • 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.

Please note that in an effort to increase response rates, CMS is working toward the end goal of improving the ICH CAHPS Survey. If any changes are made to the survey, they 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. 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!

Back to top


ICH CAHPS Sampling: ESRD Quality Reporting System (EQRS)
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted February 8, 2021

Please note that the term CROWNWeb is slowly being phased out. As of November 9, 2020, the ESRD Quality Reporting System, EQRS, is the CMS data system of record. The EQRS is where ICH facilities update their monthly dialysis information, and is now the system used by the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team to obtain semiannual sampling information. As such, the Coordination Team will begin using the EQRS term in place of CROWNWeb in our correspondence with vendors and facilities.

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

Back to top


Training Materials for the 2021 ICH CAHPS Survey Vendor Update Webinar Training Sessions are Available
folder_openTraining Informationcalendar_todayPosted February 5, 2021

The training materials that will be used during the ICH CAHPS Survey Vendor Update Webinar Training Session that will be held from 1:30 to 3:30 PM ET on February 10, 2021, are available on the ICH CAHPS website at the following link:

ICH CAHPS Survey Vendor Update Webinar Training Materials

An email message containing instructions for connecting to the training session via webinar and telephone was sent to all registered organizations on Wednesday, February 3, 2021. Please contact the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team at ichcahps@rti.org or call 1-866-245-8083 if anyone registered for your organization did not receive this email message.

Back to top


ICH CAHPS Survey Administration and Specifications Manual, Version 9.0
folder_openChanges to Protocols and Guidelinescalendar_todayPosted February 5, 2021

The In-center Hemodialysis CAHPS (ICH CAHPS) Survey Administration and Specifications Manual, Version 9.0 is now available on the ICH CAHPS website in MS Word and PDF formats. The protocols and guidelines described in Version 9.0 of this manual are effective immediately and supersede those described in previous versions of the manual.

Please note: At the end of Chapter 1 is a “What’s New or Different?” section, which contains a list of the chapters in the manual in which the major changes in survey protocols and materials are described.

To conserve paper, the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team will print a limited number of hardcopy versions of this manual. Organizations may request a hardcopy manual by sending an e-mail message to the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team at ichcahps@rti.org.

Updated ICH CAHPS Survey protocols and procedures will be reviewed during the ICH CAHPS Survey Vendor Update Webinar Training session that will take place on Wednesday, February 10, 2021. A training agenda and the presentation slides for those training sessions will also be posted on the ICH CAHPS website by 5:00 PM ET today, February 5, 2021.

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

Back to top