The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began the national implementation of the In-Center Hemodialysis Consumer of Healthcare Providers and Systems (ICH CAHPS) Survey in calendar year (CY) 2014. The national implementation of the ICH CAHPS Survey is designed to meet the following three broad goals.
- Produce comparable data from the patient’s perspective that will allow objective and meaningful comparisons between ICH facilities on domains that are important to consumers;
- create incentives for ICH facilities to improve the quality of care they provide to dialysis patients; and
- enhance public accountability in health care by increasing the transparency of the quality of care provided in return for public investment.
The national implementation of the ICH CAHPS Survey is conducted on a semiannual basis. The first ICH CAHPS Survey began in the fall of 2014; therefore, in CY2014 the ICH CAHPS Survey was administered only one time, but in subsequent years it is administered twice each year. For each semiannual survey, CMS selects a sample of patients 18 years old and older who have received hemodialysis from their current ICH facility for 3 months or longer to be surveyed. CMS began publicly reporting ICH CAHPS Survey results on Dialysis Facility Compare (DFC) on the www.medicare.gov website in October 2016. Survey results published on the DFC are updated or “refreshed” twice each year and are based on data from the two most recent survey periods.
Because it is important that the survey be administered in the same way using the same protocols by all survey vendors, for the national implementation, CMS requires that:
- ICH facilities contract with an independent third-party survey vendor that has been approved and trained by CMS; and
- all approved ICH CAHPS Survey vendors will use ICH CAHPS Survey administration specifications developed by CMS. The ICH CAHPS Survey Administration and Specifications Manual is available here.