The following blog post was written by Mark Dengler, President of RMS. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed delaying implementation of the mandated 2018 date for the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Outpatient and Ambulatory Surgery Survey (OAS CAHPS). As a result, many ambulatory surgery center facilities are trying to determine when they should move forward with OAS CAHPS surveying in the short term. Some are considering postponing their implementation as well. This may not be wise.

There is a strong case for Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) and Hospital Outpatient Departments (HOPDs) to move forward with the survey implementation now rather than wait. Many centers have already been conducting these surveys for a long time and plan to continue. There are several reasons for recommending this.

First, the OAS CAHPS survey is a comprehensive, standardized survey tool (used nationally) that seeks to capture many aspects of the patient’s experience. The tool gathers patient perceptions related to the communication and care provided by surgery staff, expectations prior to the surgical procedure and preparations related to discharge and recovery. Moreover, it provides a rating of the patient’s overall perception of the facility on a scale from 0 to 10; with zero being the worst facility ever and 10 being the best. This rating is very helpful for assessing a patient’s overall quality measurement.

Second, the survey is administered several days following the patient’s discharge. This post-episodic surveying allows for a better impression of the entire surgery process. Under the OAS CAHPS survey administration guidelines, patients will have an improved sense of their entire experience (versus completing the survey the same day or just after discharge), allowing for a better assessment of the patient’s perception.

By moving forward with the OAS CAHPS surveying process now, centers will be able to get timely results. Unlike those centers that postpone, the center will be able to learn its patients’ perceptions timely, and if necessary, be able to implement quality improvement activities for any areas where they feel care can be improved. This work can be done prior to when the information MUST BE publicly reported. Ultimately OAS CAHPS survey information will need to be available for all to review. OAS CAHPS surveying will provide benchmarking with other ASCs. By using the OAS CAHPS survey tool, the ambulatory surgery center will be able to longitudinally compare its scores with those of other centers.

Finally, OAS CAHPS surveying is just being postponed and not going away. By moving forward now, facilities can gain competitive advantages by knowing their overall satisfaction position, adjusting where necessary, and being able to promote and validate key facility features ahead of those facilities that wait.

Based upon these reasons, it is recommended that ambulatory surgery centers continue to move forward with OAS CAHPS survey administration on a voluntary basis. Long-term, immediate OAS CAHPS survey administration makes considerable business sense to optimize patient quality care and ensure the facility’s financial viability.

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a full-service market research and consulting firm located in Baldwinsville, NY. As a CMS-approved CAHPS® Vendor, RMS’ Healthcare Department is composed of two divisions: Healthcare Analytics and Healthcare Practice Transformation. The Healthcare Analytics team is responsible for several aspects of the CAHPS Survey Administrations, including the following product lines: ACO CAHPS, CG CAHPS, ECHO Survey, ED CAHPS, H CAHPS, HH CAHPS, Hospice CAHPS, ICH CAHPS, OAS CAHPS and PQRS CAHPS. To learn more about our healthcare services, contact Christine Benn, Business Development Coordinator at or by calling 866-567-5422.