Participation in the 2019 ICH CAHPS Survey
In-center hemodialysis (ICH) facilities that served 30 or more survey-eligible patients in calendar year (CY) 2018 must administer the In-center Hemodialysis CAHPS Survey (ICH CAHPS) Survey in the spring and fall of CY2019 to comply with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ quality reporting requirements for the 2021 payment year.
All ICH facilities should read this announcement in its entirety to determine whether they are required to participate in the ICH CAHPS Survey in CY2019 and if so, review the steps that need to be taken.
Determining Whether Participation in the ICH CAHPS Survey in CY2019 is Required
To determine whether your ICH facility (CMS Certification Number or CCN) is required to participate in the ICH CAHPS Survey in CY2019, count the number of survey-eligible patients your facility served in CY2018. Your count must include hemodialysis patients who:
- were 18 years old or older as of December 31, 2018;
- were alive as of December 31, 2018;
- received hemodialysis on an outpatient basis from your facility for 3 consecutive months or longer at some point in CY2018;
- are not currently receiving hospice care; and
- were not living in a nursing home or other skilled nursing facility or other long-term facility such as a prison or jail as of December 31, 2018.
Patients who receive home or peritoneal dialysis are not eligible to participate in the ICH CAHPS Survey; therefore, do not include those patients in your count of survey-eligible patients.
ICH facilities should note that the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team DOES NOT have information about the number of survey-eligible patients a facility served in CY2018. Therefore, each ICH facility is responsible for determining whether it is required to administer the 2019 ICH CAHPS semiannual surveys.
ICH facilities that received Medicare certification after December 31, 2018 are not required to participate in the ICH CAHPS Survey in CY2019.
For Facilities That Are NOT Required To Participate
ICH facilities that served 29 or fewer survey-eligible patients in CY2018 are not required to participate in the ICH CAHPS semiannual surveys in CY2019. However, all such facilities can choose one of the following three options:
- Option 1. Administer the surveys in 2019 following all of the ICH protocols and procedures described in the ICH CAHPS Survey Administration and Specifications Manual;
- Option 2. Administer the survey using a third party vendor but not following the ICH CAHPS protocols and procedures; or
- Option 3. Choose not to administer the survey at all.
If a facility that served 29 or fewer survey-eligible patients in CY2018 chooses Option 1, CMS will provide a patient sample to the facility’s authorized ICH CAHPS Survey vendor for each of the two 2019 ICH CAHPS Surveys. The surveys must be conducted according to all ICH CAHPS Survey protocols and procedures, which include the following:
- Using a CMS-approved ICH CAHPS Survey vendor to administer the survey on its behalf;
- Administering both the 2019 ICH CAHPS Spring and Fall Surveys;
- Adhering to the ICH CAHPS survey administration procedures and protocols described in the ICH CAHPS Survey Administration and Specifications Manual when administering the survey; and
- Submitting an ICH CAHPS Survey data file for each survey period to the ICH CAHPS Data Center.
CMS will not select and provide patient samples for a facility that chooses to administer the survey without adhering to the ICH CAHPS Survey administration protocols and procedures (Option 2), nor will it accept data files containing data from the survey(s) conducted. The ICH facility will be responsible for working with a survey vendor to select the samples for the survey that will be conducted and for conducting all other aspects of the survey.
If an ICH facility chooses Option 2 or Option 3, the facility must complete and submit a 2019 ICH CAHPS Facility Non-Participation Form, which is an online form that is available on the ICH CAHPS website (available under the For Facilities tab once the user logs in to the website). The ICH CAHPS Facility Non-Participation Form is a form that must be submitted on an annual basis. If you completed a 2018 Facility Non-Participation Form, that form is no longer valid. You must complete and submit the form for CY2019 by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on February 28, 2019 if your organization does not plan to administer the ICH CAHPS Survey in 2019.
Facilities certified after December 31, 2018 are not required to complete and submit the online Facility Non-Participation Form.
For Facilities That ARE Required To Participate
ICH facilities that served 30 or more survey-eligible patients in calendar year CY2018 must administer the ICH CAHPS Survey in the spring and fall of CY2019 to comply with quality reporting requirements for the 2021 payment year.
For Facilities that Administered the ICH CAHPS Survey in CY2018
Unless a 2019 Facility Non-Participation Form is submitted, the Coordination Team will select and provide a sample file to the ICH CAHPS Survey vendor that the facility previously authorized on the ICH CAHPS website. If an ICH facility plans to use a different ICH CAHPS Survey vendor, the facility must update its vendor authorization form on the ICH CAHPS website before 5:00 PM Eastern Time on February 28, 2019. Click here for instructions on how to change the online vendor authorization.
For Facilities that have Never Administered the ICH CAHPS Survey
To participate in the survey, ICH facilities must do the following, if they have not already done so.
- Select and contract with one of the ICH CAHPS Survey vendors that have been approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The list of CMS-approved ICH CAHPS Survey vendors is available on the ICH CAHPS website at https://ichcahps.org/GeneralInformation/ApprovedSurveyVendors.aspx.
- Designate a staff member to be the facility’s ICH CAHPS Survey Administrator (SA). For more information about the role of the ICH CAHPS SA, see information provided in Chapter III of the ICH CAHPS Survey Administration and Specifications Manual, which is available on the ICH CAHPS website at https://ichcahps.org/SurveyandProtocols.aspx
- Register on the ICH CAHPS website at https://ichcahps.org/ForFacilities/FacilityUserRegistration.aspx. When registering, your facility’s designated SA will create user credentials (username and password) that will allow him or her to access the private links on the ICH CAHPS website.
- Complete the online “Authorize a Vendor” form on the ICH CAHPS website by February 28, 2019 to authorize your ICH CAHPS Survey vendor to collect and submit ICH CAHPS Survey data on your facility’s behalf.
Please contact the ICH CAHPS Coordination Team at 1-866-245-8083 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or need more information about the 2019 ICH CAHPS Surveys.