In addition to the number of Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) surveys currently in the field, a new addition will be expanded into come 2015 with the implementation of Hospice CAHPS. This will complement the four other programs currently in place with CMS: Hospital CAHPS (HCAHPS®), Home Health CAHPS (HHCAHPS®), Clinician and Group CAHPS (CGCAHPS®), and In-Center Hemodialysis CAHPS (ICHCAHPS®). RMS Healthcare is a vendor for all of the aforementioned CAHPS services and plans to be at the forefront in assisting Hospice providers and its patients with this new CAHPS process.

Hospice CAHPS

As of June 2014, voluntary implementation will begin in either January, February, or March of 2015 for Hospice CAHPS. Mandatory implementation is planned to begin in April 2015. Hospice survey testing is currently underway since 2013 with various scripts being tested to ensure the best possible questionnaire is arrived at. More information will be available for Hospice CAHPS in the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2014, so stay tuned to the RMS Healthcare Blog for more updates.

Here are some FAQs and answers regarding the new Hospice CAHPS process:

  • I am a Hospice provider, am I impacted by Hospice CAHPS? It depends. If you are a Medicare Certified Hospice provider paid under the Hospice Wage Index, you are required to participate in the new Hospice CAHPS by April of 2015 (these dates still remain tentative). You’ll want to choose your vendor ahead of that date although. Voluntary implementation will begin as early as January of 2015 if you’d like to test out processes and procedures before full-scale implementation.
  • Is there pay for performance related to Hospice CAHPS? Pay for performance is not implemented at this time.
  • Who is the target population for the new Hospice CAHPS? The population to be surveyed is family members or friends of an adult Hospice patient that has received care with a provider for at least 48 hours (2 days).
  • When will these surveys be sent to Hospice patients? The CAHPS will follow a standard monthly surveying process and surveys will be sent by vendors (such as RMS Healthcare) two to five months after the patient’s death.
  • What is the length of the survey, how many questions will there be, and what modes are being used? This has all yet to be finalized by CMS as the survey is currently being field tested. It is anticipated the Hospice CAHPS will follow other processes and offer mail and/or telephone options for distribution. Mail is typically the least expensive option. While a combination of mail and phone follow-up produces the best response rate.
  • What is the sampling requirements? All sampling requirements will be based on the number of patients the Medicare Certified Hospice provider sees in a given year. Those seeing under 50 patients per year are exempt. A census is required for those seeing 50 to 699 patients per year, meaning all patients would need to be invited to participate. If the provider sees 700 or more patients per year, a random sampling is allowed.

If you have any questions on Hospice CAHPS or would like to receive a quote from a CAHPS vendor please contact our Business Development Director Sandy Baker at or by calling 1-866-567-5422.