The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Section 4558(b)) required that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) develop and implement a method to measure and report the quality of renal dialysis services provided under the Medicare Program. Although CMS has been reporting comparative clinical information at the dialysis facility level since 2001 on its Dialysis Facility Compare (DFC) Web site at http://www.medicare.gov/dialysisfacilitycompare/, a major gap in the information currently available is the quality of in-center hemodialysis care from end stage renal disease (ESRD) patients’ perspective. In 2001, then U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Thompson announced the Quality Initiative, which reflects a commitment to assure quality health care for all Americans through accountability and public disclosure in all provider areas.
Since 1995, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), in conjunction with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has developed a CAHPS Survey that is used to collect and publicly report data about the health care patients receive from a variety of health care settings, including hospital inpatients, home health care, and Medicare Advantage plans. In 2004, CMS partnered with AHRQ to develop a CAHPS Survey for ESRD patients who receive in-center hemodialysis from dialysis facilities. AHRQ and CMS developed and tested the In-Center Hemodialysis CAHPS (ICH CAHPS) Survey in 2005. The ICH CAHPS Survey is designed to measure the experiences of people receiving in-center hemodialysis care from Medicare-certified dialysis facilities. The ICH CAHPS Survey measures were endorsed by the National Quality Forum (NQF) in 2007.