Survey Administration

What is the source of beneficiary phone numbers provided by CMS?

Beneficiary phone numbers are sourced from a matching service. For this reason, we are unable to provide matches for 100% of beneficiaries.

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When will the patient survey be administered?

The survey is administered on an annual basis. For Performance Year 2020, the survey will be administered from October 2020 to January 2021.

The patient survey includes the core questions contained in the CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey (Version 3.0.), plus additional questions:

The patient survey measures:

  • Access to and use of specialist care
  • Experience with care coordination
  • Patient involvement with decision-making
  • Experience with a health care team
  • Health promotion and patient education
  • Patient functional status
  • General health

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Can our ACO supplement the sample CMS selects to generate clinician-level results?

No. The current sample design does not allow for ACOs to request additional sample or supplement the sample.

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Can ACOs notify beneficiaries that they may be asked to participate in the CAHPS for ACOs Survey?

ACOs may inform Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries about the survey, but CMS will not be providing a template. When communicating with beneficiaries: ACOs should not encourage beneficiaries to answer survey questions in a particular way; ACOs should not imply that the ACO will be rewarded for positive feedback; and ACOs should not offer incentives of any kind.

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Who pays to administer the patient survey?

ACOs are responsible for the cost of administering their patient survey.

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What changes will CMS make to the survey for Performance Year 2020?

CMS adopted a streamlined version of the survey in 2018, and a description of those revisions can be found here. CMS continues to offer a single survey version for the Performance Year 2020 survey administration. More information on survey content and the survey can be found on the Survey Instruments page.

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The vendor training slides indicate that CMS provides current contact information for beneficiaries, including address and phone number. Does CMS obtain permission from beneficiaries to call phone numbers?

CMS does not contact beneficiaries and obtain permission to call phone numbers. Vendors must conduct all survey calls using systems and procedures that are compliant with all applicable laws and regulations including all applicable requirements of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations, and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

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I authorized my vendor last year. Do I still need to complete the vendor authorization process, even if using the same vendor?

Yes, ACOs must authorize a survey vendor every year, even if using the same vendor year to year. ACOs communicate their vendor authorization via a web-based tool, and all ACOs will receive instructions for vendor authorization in Summer 2020.

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When will my vendor be made aware that I have completed the survey vendor authorization process?

Vendors should not expect notification of their participating ACOs prior to the vendor authorization process deadline.

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How do I authorize a vendor?

ACOs communicate their vendor authorization via a web-based tool, and all ACOs will receive instructions for vendor authorization in Summer 2020. The vendor authorization period will open in late July 2020. ACOs must authorize a vendor for the 2020 CAHPS for ACOs Survey by September 16, 2020, choosing from the 2020 final list of approved vendors. ACOs must communicate a vendor authorization each year.

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Where can I find a list of approved survey vendors?

You can find the final list of the 2020 approved survey vendors on the Approved Vendor List page.

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What is the ACO’s responsibility in monitoring their survey vendor?

The ACO is responsible for assuring that the contracted vendor delivers the services according to the contract. The CAHPS for ACOs Survey Project Team reviews the vendor’s Quality Assurance Plan and conducts site visits on behalf of CMS. These activities do not replace the ACO’s role in monitoring their vendor contract.

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How many patients seen by our ACO will be sampled?

We anticipate sampling 860 patients per year. We may adjust this number based on the survey’s response.

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Who identifies which patients are eligible to be used in the survey?

We will identify beneficiaries eligible for the survey from the pool of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries assigned to the ACO.

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How will CMS select a sample of patients seen by our ACO? Which of our ACO’s patients will be sampled?

We will select a random sample of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries who got primary care services from your ACO. However, we will limit the sample to beneficiaries age 18 and older, who are not known to be institutionalized or deceased.

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Survey Measures and Reporting

Will the survey provide clinician-level results?

No. The survey will generate results and scores at the ACO level.

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What format will the results be in?

You’ll get both narrative reports and an Excel workbook of scores based on the survey data.

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Which survey questions correspond to each summary survey measure (SSMs)?

Please refer to Appendix F from the CAHPS for ACOs Survey Quality Assurance Guidelines. This appendix outlines the specific questions from the CAHPS for ACOs Survey included in each of the Summary Survey Measures (SSMs).

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