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Hospice CAHPS Survey 101: What This Patient Survey Means for Hospice Care

The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Hospice Survey was developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to measure the experience of family members or friends who cared for a patient who passed away while under hospice care. This survey is used to provide key insights for the Hospice Quality Reporting Program, mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Hospice CAHPS results are publicly reported on the Care Compare website. 

If you run or work for a hospice agency, it’s essential to understand the fundamentals of this survey and how to get started. 

What Is the Hospice CAHPS Survey?  

The Hospice CAHPS Survey collects feedback on the experience of family members who cared for a patient who passed away under hospice care.  

Survey data serves to help patients and their family members choose the most appropriate hospice care for their needs by comparing performance of hospice agencies in their area. It also serves to incentivize hospice providers to improve care.  

Is Participation in the CAHPS Hospice Survey Mandatory?  

Since 2015, every hospice provider with at least 50 survey-eligible decedents/caregivers has been required to conduct the Hospice CAHPS Survey using a CMS-approved survey vendor like Press Ganey.  

What Types of Questions Does This Patient Family Experience Survey Ask?

The Hospice CAHPS Survey asks patients’ family members 47 questions about receiving hospice services through their hospice agency. These cover topics such as: 

  • Communication with family 
  • Getting timely help 
  • Treating the patient with respect 
  • Emotional and spiritual support 
  • Help for pain and symptoms 
  • Training family to care for patient 
  • Rating of the hospice 
  • Willingness to recommend the hospice 

The survey also asks standard demographic questions.  

Who Is Surveyed with the Hospice CAHPS Survey?

Family member caregivers of patients who passed away under hospice care are eligible to take the Hospice CAHPS Survey. The sampling method selected by a CMS-approved vendor like Press Ganey depends on the agency’s number of monthly decedents.  

How Do I Administer Hospice CAHPS?

CAHPS Hospice Surveys are administered by CMS-approved survey vendors like Press Ganey every month. Respondents are surveyed via mail or phone. The survey takes approximately 11 minutes to complete. 

Why Is the Survey Important for Hospice Providers?

Survey feedback helps hospice agencies understand opportunities to improve care delivery. Better scores indicate that high-quality end-of-life care and support have been provided. As a requirement within the Hospice Quality Reporting Program, participating in Hospice CAHPS also helps hospice agencies avoid negative payment adjustments from CMS.  

How Does CAHPS Hospice Surveying Benefit Patients and Families?

CAHPS Hospice Surveys give family caregivers the opportunity to provide feedback to hospice agencies about various aspects of the patient experience. Since results from these surveys are reported publicly, patients and their families are better able to make informed choices when selecting a hospice agency. In turn, these insights help organizations better address caregiver and patient needs, improving hospice services across the board. 

How Do CAHPS Hospice Surveys Improve Healthcare Delivery?

Collecting family caregiver experience feedback provides hospice agencies with important insights. Key decision-makers can leverage this information to identify service recovery gaps and develop specific improvement strategies. Press Ganey offers benchmarks, consulting services, home health solutions, and additional tools to ensure success. 

How Can My Organization Get Started with CAHPS Hospice Surveys?

Hospice agencies required to administer CAHPS Hospice Surveys should consult a CMS-approved survey vendor, such as Press Ganey, to implement the survey and help leaders stay up to date on all associated requirements. Press Ganey also offers continuous patient experience insights through flexible outreach options, consulting solutions, industry-leading expertise, and compliance management to assist participating sites in adhering to survey requirements.  

The CAHPS Hospice Survey is a valuable measurement tool for CMS to gauge the experiences of patients in hospice care—as well as the experiences of their caregivers during a difficult time. To ensure your agency complies with CMS requirements, it’s critical to understand the basics of the survey program, how to implement the survey, and benefits of partnering with Press Ganey to administer the Hospice CAHPS Survey. 

Read more about CAHPS surveys and regulatory offerings or speak with an expert to learn how your organization can best measure patient experience and comply with CMS requirements.

About the Author

Hilary Dempsey is a Senior Policy Analyst with Press Ganey Associates. She is responsible for providing guidance, training, and expertise in the regulatory and policy arena. In her role, she analyzes, interprets, and presents regulatory and policy updates and information, monitors non-regulatory third-party activities and industry changes, and advocates for Press Ganey clients in our communications to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and third-party entities. In addition, Hilary is also the Program Manager for Press Ganey’s Equity Partnership. In this role, she collaborates with stakeholders, coordinates cross-functional teams across Press Ganey, and speaks with clients about the importance of equity. Before her current position, Hilary worked for Press Ganey as a Patient Experience Advisory, where she worked with hospitals and other facilities on specific strategies to improve the patient experience in those organizations. Prior to working for Press Ganey, she worked with the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Colorado-Wyoming Chapter, where she represented and advocated for persons with MS at the state level. Hilary also worked for a United States Congressman, both in his district office and, later, in the Washington D.C. office on federal legislative matters. Hilary received her Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri.

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