Hospice Highlight - CAHPS Survey Implementation

December 25, 2014
Rachel V. Rose, JD, MBA
Rachel V. Rose, JD, MBA

Rachel V. Rose, JD, MBA, advises clients on compliance and transactions in healthcare, cybersecurity, corporate and securities law, while representing plaintiffs in False Claims Act and Dodd-Frank whistleblower cases. She also teaches bioethics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Rachel can be reached through her website, www.rvrose.com.

For hospice providers in both acute care and home settings, one item to place on your New Year's resolutions list is CAHPS Survey Implementation.

As stated in the Federal Register, in order to participate in the 2017 Annual Payment Update (APU), hospices are now required to implement the Hospice Consumer Assessment of Health Providers & System Survey (CAHPSâ). Beginning in January 2015, these patient experience surveys must be completed on a monthly basis.

The implementation timeline follows:

• Q1 2015: Hospice providers must implement CAHPS survey. Results from at least one month sent to CMS via your vendor.

• April 2015: Data continuously collected each month. Results are sent to CMS via your vendor on a quarterly basis.

• August 2015: Exemption form must be submitted for hospices with less than 50 decedents in 2015.

To assist with these timelines and new requirements, some hospice revenue cycle billing companies have partnered with Hospice CAHPS survey vendors to provide a comprehensive package for clients. This makes the entire process seamless and since a Business Associate Agreement should already be in place, it is one less item to evaluate.

"The Hospice CAHPS® Survey samples the primary caregivers of deceased hospice patients who meet survey criteria. Administration of the survey will occur several months after the death. The survey encompasses the following key topics: starting hospice care; the patients' hospice care (including controlling pain, help with difficulty breathing, help with constipation, and help with anxiety or sadness); special medical equipment; the caregivers' own experience with hospice; and overall rating of hospice care. There are three approved modes of administration: mail only, telephone only, and mixed (mail followed by telephone)." (Ibid.) Basically, the entire process or experience is evaluated.

In sum, there is a lot that needs to be done to insure implementation. Partnering with a revenue cycle management company that assists with meeting the standards can save a lot of time and frustration and leave physicians and hospices to focus on patient care.