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 ( 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: You may use the attached CMS-approved version (also found at: or ask for approval to use your own (send request to:
  • 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’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

The ICH CAHPS Coordination Team