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Upcoming 6 Enhancements to the HCAHPS Survey!

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are implementing significant updates to the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, aiming to modernize the survey process and enhance patient participation rates. This initiative is part of the Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System final rule, which was unveiled on August 1st.

Since its inception in 2008, the HCAHPS survey has primarily relied on paper-based administration and maintained consistent question sets. However, according to insights from Rick Evans, Senior Vice President of Patient Services and Chief Experience Officer at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the lack of evolution in the survey's format and content poses a risk to its credibility as a dependable source of patient-related data and preferences. Evans conveyed his concerns about this matter in a column for Becker's in April, responding to the proposed changes.

Outlined below are six modifications to the survey that are set to be implemented in 2025. The resulting HCAHPS scores, generated through the revamped process, will play a role in determining hospitals' payments for the fiscal year 2027.

1. Patients will have the option to complete the HCAHPS survey online, introducing an electronic alternative to the traditional phone or mail methods. An earlier pilot conducted by CMS in 2021 demonstrated that incorporating an online response method led to increased survey participation rates.

2. The prohibition on allowing patients' loved ones to complete the survey on the patient's behalf will be lifted by CMS.

3. The data collection period for the survey will be extended from 42 days to 49 days.

4. CMS will align the number of supplemental items with its other patient experience surveys, capping the count at 12 items.

5. Hospitals will be obligated to gather information about the patient's language preference, with Spanish-speaking patients being presented with the official CMS Spanish translation of the survey.

6. CMS will phase out two existing survey administration options—namely, the Active Interactive Voice Response and the Hospitals Administering HCAHPS for Multiple Sites modes. These modes have remained unused by hospitals since 2016 and 2019, respectively.

Disclaimer: Pending Official Confirmation from CMS

The information provided in this communication is based on reported developments regarding potential changes to the HCAHPS survey by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). As of the time of this publication, we have not received official confirmation from CMS regarding the precise details of these changes. It's important to note that the content shared here is derived from sources reporting on the subject.

We are committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to our readers. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and promptly share any official announcements or confirmations from CMS as soon as they become available. Our aim is to ensure that you stay well-informed about the latest developments in the healthcare industry. Thank you for your understanding, and we will keep you informed as new information emerges.

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