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Reminder: Deadline for Submitting an Updated 2022 ICH CAHPS Quality Assurance Plan is May 31, 2022
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted May 24, 2022

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, 2022.

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 2021.
  • Make a copy of that version and accept all tracked changes, creating a clean copy of your QAP.
  • Make all 2022 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.
  • 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.

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Deadline for Submitting an Updated 2022 ICH CAHPS Quality Assurance Plan
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted May 6, 2022

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, 2022.

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 2021.
  • Make a copy of that version and accept all tracked changes, creating a clean copy of your QAP.
  • Make all 2022 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.
  • 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.

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Patient-Mix Coefficients, Star Ratings, and Average State and National Scores for the ICH CAHPS Survey Results Publicly Reported in April 2022
folder_openInformation for Dialysis Facilitiescalendar_todayPosted April 28, 2022

The ICH CAHPS Survey results that are currently posted on Care Compare on the Medicare.gov website (https://www.medicare.gov/care-compare/) are based on ICH CAHPS Survey data from the 2020 ICH CAHPS Fall and 2021 ICH CAHPS Spring Surveys.

Patient-Mix Coefficients and Star Ratings for the 2022 April Refresh

The results shown are statistically adjusted for both data collection mode and for patient-mix. Information about the adjustments made to the survey results and the coefficients used to adjust the results can be found here. Information presented in this document will allow ICH facilities to approximate the effect of patient-mix adjustment on their ICH CAHPS Survey results that were posted on Care Compare in April 2022. This document also includes additional information on the clustering method used to create ICH CAHPS Star Ratings (Appendix A).

Average State and National Scores for the 2022 April Refresh

In addition, you can click here to see the state and national averages for the three ICH CAHPS composite measures and the three global ratings based on the combined data from these two survey periods. The average response rate for each state and the overall response rate are also provided in this document.

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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Importance of Increasing ICH CAHPS Survey Response Rates!
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted April 13, 2022

Dear ICH CAHPS Survey Administrators:

As noted in previous announcements, we continue to see a steady decline in the In-Center Hemodialysis (ICH CAHPS) Survey response rates. We know that you are busy and that this email may be long but we ask that you to take the time to read through it – we need your help!!

As we approach the 2022 Spring Survey, CMS and the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team want to take this opportunity to remind ICH facilities and their patients of the need for patient participation in the ICH CAHPS Survey. 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. But…patient input via the survey remains critical for ensuring that ICH patients and their family members can make informed decisions regarding the in-center dialysis care they need!

We would like to share the main activities that CMS and the Coordination Team are doing to improve the ICH CAHPS Survey experience:

  • Survey Revision Efforts: Over the years, CMS has received feedback that the length of the survey may have a negative impact on response rates. After many analyses and in-depth research, we have finalized a shortened version of the ICH CAHPS Survey. The shortened survey will be tested as part of a mode experiment this fall.
  • Mode Experiment: We have received OMB approval to conduct a web mode experiment this fall to determine whether adding a web mode to the ICH CAHPS Survey protocol, as well as using the shortened survey mentioned above, would be feasible and beneficial.
  • Patient Page on the ICH CAHPS Website: We have added a dialysis patient page with FAQs about participating in the survey to the ICH CAHPS website (https://ichcahps.org/Dialysis-Patients). Facilities are encouraged to direct their patients to this webpage and may refer to it any ICH CAHPS Survey flyers/posters that they use in their facilities. Prenotification and cover letters sent by survey vendors will also include this link.

Even with our current efforts, we need your help in increasing response rates! We feel the best way for ICH facilities to help with this is to promote patient engagement. We share some ideas here but if you have other ideas, we welcome suggestions!

  • Show Patients the ICH CAHPS Survey Envelope: Show your patients the ICH CAHPS Survey envelope so they can easily recognize it should they receive one in the mail. We have attached the envelope template for your convenience (this envelope template is for facilities to show their patients; facilities should not use this for any other purpose).
  • Let Patients Know What Phone Number to Expect a Call From: Work with your vendor so that you can advertise the telephone number that patients will receive a call from. If patients have prior knowledge of the phone number that will be calling them to conduct the phone survey, they may be more inclined to answer and ultimately complete the survey.
  • 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. This may be especially helpful right before and during each data collection period (schedule found here: https://ichcahps.org). You may use the attached CMS-approved version (also found at: https://ichcahps.org/Survey-and-Protocols) or ask for approval to use your own (send request to: ichcahps@rti.org).
  • Remind Patients of the Survey Fundamentals: Explain the details of the ICH CAHPS Survey with your patients, including the purpose, the importance of patient participation, the upcoming data collection schedule (when to look for mail surveys or when they might receive phone calls), how results are published on Medicare.gov’s Care Compare website, and any facility plans to improve patient care based on survey results.

ICH facilities should make sure to keep the following in mind when implementing any patient engagement techniques:

  • Participation is always voluntary.
  • Facilities should not imply or persuade patients to respond to items in a particular way.
  • Staff at a dialysis facility are not allowed to help patients complete the survey.
  • Staff at a dialysis facility should not attempt to answer survey-specific questions asked by the patient.

We thank you for reading through to the end of this email and we hope that you will help us in our efforts to improve the response rates of the ICH CAHPS Survey! If you have additional ideas or proven tactics for increasing response rates, please share them with the Coordination Team at ichcahps@rti.org.

Sincerely,
The ICH CAHPS Coordination Team

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: Schedule Changes for the 2022 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey
folder_openOther Announcementscalendar_todayPosted March 1, 2022

Last January, CMS announced the suspension of ICH facilities and other users entering clinical data into EQRS, the database that replaced CROWNWeb for ICH CAHPS Survey sampling. ICH facilities have now been given an extended deadline of 3/31/2022 to enter all 2021 dialysis data into EQRS, and therefore RTI does not anticipate receiving updated data needed for sampling until the end of April. As such, the 2022 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey will be delayed and shorter than the normal 12-week data collection period.

Prior to the 2020 Spring Survey period that was affected by Covid-19, RTI obtained feedback from vendors about how best to condense the data collection schedule. Based on that feedback, we have drafted a revised data collection schedule for the 2022 Spring Survey, as shown below. Please note that each proposed date is not a hard deadline, but one that vendors should aim to meet within several days. An Exceptions Request Form (ERF) is not required for minor schedule deviations; however, if you are unable to meet a date within several days, we ask that you please discuss with the Coordination Team.

We also want to note that for vendors administering mixed mode, you will not be required to make 10 call attempts; however, we encourage you to make as many attempts as possible, and no less than 6.

REVISED 2022 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey Schedule:

Activity Original Date Revised Date
Sampling Window 10/1/2021-12/31/2021 10/1/2021-12/31/2021
Sample Files Uploaded on ICH CAHPS Website 3/25/2022 5/16/2022
Vendors Attest to Receipt of Sample File 3/29/2022 5/18/2022
Mail Prenotification Letter 4/15/2022 5/31/2022
Mail 1st Questionnaire (mail only and mixed mode)/Begin Telephone data collection (phone only) 4/29/2022 6/8/2022
Mail 2nd Questionnaire (mail only)/Begin phone follow-up (mixed mode) 5/27/2022 6/29/2022
Data Collection Ends 7/8/2022 7/26/2022
Vendors Clean/Process Final Data and Construct XML File 7/8/2022-7/26/2022 7/26/2022-8/9/2022
Deadline for Submitting XML Data File to ICH Data Center 7/27/2022 8/10/2022

We will update you as soon as possible if any dates shift again, in which case an updated revised schedule will be provided.

Please contact the Coordination Team via email at ichcahps@rti.org or call 1-866-245-8083 if you have any questions or need more information about the revised 2022 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey schedule.

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Deadline for Authorizing a Survey Vendor for the 2022 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey is February 28, 2022
folder_openFacility Participation Requirementscalendar_todayPosted February 25, 2022

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

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 2022 Spring Survey; OR
  • Your facility is switching to a different survey vendor to administer the 2022 ICH CAHPS 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 vendor 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.  Please note that you must have a formal written contract with an approved ICH CAHPS Survey vendor before authorizing that vendor on the website.

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 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 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 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 "2022 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 2022 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 2022 Spring Survey after 5:00 PM Eastern Time on February 28, 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 or need more information about the 2022 ICH CAHPS Surveys.

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Reminder: The 2022 ICH CAHPS Survey Facility Non-Participation Form Deadline is February 28, 2022
folder_openFacility Participation Requirementscalendar_todayPosted February 21, 2022

Please note that the deadline for submitting the 2022 Facility Non-Participation Form for the ICH CAHPS Survey is 5:00 PM Eastern on February 28, 2022. 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 2, 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 Surveys in calendar year 2022 by counting the number of survey-eligible patients they served in 2021.

ICH facilities that determine that they are not required to administer the 2022 ICH CAHPS Surveys and those that choose not to administer the surveys must complete and submit the 2022 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 2021 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 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, 2021 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.

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Only One Week before the Deadline to Authorize a Survey Vendor for the 2022 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey
folder_openFacility Participation Requirementscalendar_todayPosted February 21, 2022

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 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. 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 2022 Spring Survey; OR
  • Your facility is switching to a different survey vendor to administer the 2022 ICH CAHPS 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 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 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 2022 ICH CAHPS Spring Survey on the ICH CAHPS website by the February 28, 2022 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 2021 must administer both the 2022 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 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 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 "2022 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 2022 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 2022 Spring Survey after 5:00 PM Eastern Time on February 28, 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 or need more information about the 2022 ICH CAHPS Surveys.

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Training Materials for the 2022 ICH CAHPS Survey Vendor Update Webinar Training Sessions are Available
folder_openTraining Informationcalendar_todayPosted February 4, 2022

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 9, 2022, are available on the ICH CAHPS website at the following link:

February 2022 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 2, 2022. 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.

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ICH CAHPS Survey Administration and Specifications Manual, Version 10.0
folder_openChanges to Protocols and Guidelinescalendar_todayPosted February 4, 2022

The In-center Hemodialysis CAHPS (ICH CAHPS) Survey Administration and Specifications Manual, Version 10.0 is now available on the ICH CAHPS website in MS Word and PDF formats. The protocols and guidelines described in Version 10.0 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 email 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 9, 2022. 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 4, 2022.

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.

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